Few facts about perinatal depression and anxiety:
- Perinatal refers to the period during pregnancy, and for one year following birth, although mental disorders related to birthing and parenting can be experienced at any stage. Recent research suggests that it is more common four years after birth.
- Although commonly associated with new mums, dads can also experience postnatal depression. Click this link to visit a website dedicated to new dads.
- Perinatal mental illness is not just about depression. There are a variety of mental health disorders that may first present in this period including anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, even psychosis.
Perinatal mental disorders are common, serious, and treatable. The important thing is to seek help, and seek help early. Don't be afraid to let your health care providers (GP, obstetrician, midwife, maternal health nurse, psychologist etc.) know what you are thinking and how you are feeling.
Beyond Blue have an online questionnaire to help you check your symptoms (click here), and together with Smiling Mind have just launched a free smart phone app, called Mind the Bump, to help expecting parents support their mental and emotional well being during pregnancy and in becoming a new parent with mindfulness. You can read more about mindfulness in an earlier blog.
This week (16-22 November) is postnatal depression awareness week. PANDA (Post & Antenatal Depression Association) is calling for greater awareness of antenatal and postnatal anxiety, encouraging mums and dads to seek help early.
Dr. Edmund Bruce-Gardner is an osteopath