Perinatal Anxiety and Depression
Perinatal Anxiety and Depression, also commonly known as Postnatal Depression, can affect many parents after the birth of their child.
Many women are confused by their feelings when they become parents. Your mood may change rapidly from joy to amazement to being overwhelmed and ‘sad’ by the responsibility of having a child to look after. Many new mums experience mood swings and these are attributed to the rapid drop in hormonal levels in the body after the birth and the physical exhaustion of the early days of parenting.
The emotional low points are generally known as the ‘baby blues’ and should not be confused with perinatal anxiety and depression.
What is Perinatal Anxiety and Depression?
Perinatal Anxiety and Depression, or Postnatal Depression, describes the more severe or prolonged symptoms of depression that last more than a week or two and interfere with the ability to function on a daily basis, including caring for baby.
Major symptoms can vary, but may include:
- Loss of enjoyment in usual pursuits
- Loss of self esteem and confidence
- Loss of appetite and weight
- Broken sleep (irrespective of baby)
- Sense of hopelessness and being a failure
- Suicidal thoughts or ideas
- Panic attacks
- Loss of libido
- Fears for baby’s or partner’s safety or well-being
Treatments for Perinatal Anxiety and Depression
Depending on the severity of the symptoms, a past history of depression or other causes that need to be discussed with your local doctor. Treatment options vary from medication to group therapy.
It’s important to treat depression as early as possible because partners and young children can also feel stressed when a parent is anxious or depressed.
Both mothers and fathers can suffer from perinatal anxiety and depression.
Tresillian offers perinatal anxiety and depression groups for mothers. If you think a group program may be of value in managing your depression, please discuss this with your child and family health nurse or local doctor.
Contact the Tresillian Parent's Help Line for more information on (02) 9787 0855 or 1800 637 357 (outside Sydney).
For more information contact:
The Blackdog Institute
Tel: (02) 9382 6665
Post and Antenatal Depression inc (PANDA)