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Mental health during and after pregnancy

It's normal to experience some ‘ups and downs’ when expecting a baby. However, some people develop a more pronounced anxiety or lowered mood which can affect their daily life and functioning.

Up to 80 per cent of women may develop the ‘baby blues’ between day three and day ten after birth, according to the Better Health Channel. This feeling usually passes in a day or two. However, around one in seven to ten mothers will develop depression. 

Depression during pregnancy is called antenatal depression. Depression after birth is called postnatal depression.

Partners can experience it too

There might be days during your partner’s pregnancy when you feel flat, down or irritable. These kinds of changes are normal. But emotional changes that last longer than 2 weeks and get in the way of your daily life could be depression.

According to the Better Health Channel up to one in ten fathers experience paternal depression between the first trimester and 1 year after the baby is born.

How are you going?

Mental health checklists for expecting and new parents.

Support and advice

If you think you might have antenatal or postnatal depression, getting help early is important. There are health professionals who can help you recover so that you can bond with your baby and be the parent you want to be.

  • Boroondara Enhanced Maternal and Child Health service: for families who may need some extra support, such as families with babies who were born prematurely or with a low birth weight, children with a disability or parents experiencing mental health issues.
  • Baby's Okay, What About You?: a free 9-week postnatal depression support group that helps you cope with being a new parent. 
  • Parenting Support Outreach Program: practical support and assistance to new mothers and their families who are struggling with the impacts of parenthood.

For more information about these programs speak to the Maternal and Child Health service.

Further information and support

Are you worried about their safety?

If you’re worried that your partner might hurt themselves or others, you should speak urgently to your GP or call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.

If you believe that someone’s life is in immediate danger, call 000 or go to your local hospital’s emergency department.

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