“Being a new mother is supposed to be the happiest time of your life, but (pre and) postpartum depression and anxiety strip that away for a time, but trust that it will not last forever.”
— Judy Dippel —
Pregnancy can lead to a lot of mixed emotions. While it’s completely normal for new parents to feel slightly anxious both during pregnancy and after the arrival of the baby, in some cases, soon-to-be-parents experience very severe and debilitating anxiety and depression.
This is called perinatal mental illness. It refers to a group of mental health conditions that affect new parents, both prepartum and postpartum. The conditions range from anxiety disorders to postpartum psychosis. The illness can manifest at any stage of the pregnancy, and even after birth. Perinatal mental illness doesn’t just affect new mothers; new fathers too are vulnerable to the condition.
This condition is very harmful, as it prevents new parents from bonding with their baby. The good news is, perinatal mental illness can be treated. Identifying the signs of the condition and addressing it can help new parents experience and indulge in the joys of parenthood.
Timely care is essential to not only improve your mental well-being but also to ensure you are ready to care for your newborn in the best way possible.
According to research, perinatal mental illness affects 9% of prenatal Australian mothers and 16% of postnatal mothers
It’s been found that women from CALD groups are more vulnerable to the condition – with 10.1% stating prenatal distress and another 7.3% being diagnosed with prenatal depression
6.2% of CALD women were diagnosed with postnatal distress and 3.7% with postpartum depression
For men, globally, about 5%-10% of new fathers experience postnatal depression
If the perinatal disorder is present for a duration exceeding 12 months, it is treated as a non-perinatal disorder
Watch out for these symptoms of Perinatal Mental Health
Generalised anxiety about his/her ability to be a parent
Unhealthy anxiety about the safety of the baby
Development of compulsive behaviours
Unpredictable mood swings – sometimes diagnosis of bipolar disorder
Extreme feelings of hopelessness and guilt
Hallucinations, paranoia and delusions
Withdrawal from society
Changes in sleep patterns and appetite
Fear of being alone with the baby
Thoughts of harming the baby or self
Increased substance abuse
Inability to focus or think clearly
Irritability and agitation
Our holistic approach to treatment for Perinatal Mental Illness
Our psychiatrists, psychologists and allied health professionals will work with you to help you optimise your Perinatal Mental Health.
Psychiatric treatment for Perinatal Mental Health
At Mind Oasis, we understand your confusion, fear and feelings of guilt. It’s important to realise that this condition doesn’t make you a bad parent. With help, you will be able to re-connect with your newborn.
Our psychiatrists will work with you to create a unique treatment plan that can help you cope with your symptoms effectively. They can prescribe non-addictive medication for conditions like anxiety and depression. These medications are carefully prescribed to avoid harm. They are extremely safe and will not affect the quality or safety of breast milk. So, you don’t need to be worried about feeding the baby. Some parents become addicted to substances. Our psychiatrists can prescribe medication and detox/rehab treatments to help you become clean.
Psychological intervention for Perinatal Mental Health
Our mental health clinic also offers counselling to soon-to-be-parents and new-parents by providing prenatal and postnatal counselling sessions. Our team of highly experienced psychologists conduct individual sessions that can help you find ways to manage your condition and bond with your baby.