Prenatal depression, also known as antenatal depression is a clinical condition experienced by about 1 in 10 pregnant women in Australia.
There is an expectation that pregnancy is a very happy time, but it’s also a time where you experience major emotional and physical changes. From the moment you see or hear the positive result of a pregnancy test your life changes forever. It’s perfectly normal to experience ups and downs; pregnancy hormones can wreak havoc on your moods, you might be struggling with morning sickness, have financial stress or uncertainly about how you’ll cope with motherhood among many other potential worries.
But for some people fear, anxiety and unhappiness can become overwhelming. Someone with prenatal depression
may lack motivation, have a low self-esteem, become withdrawn, may not be taking good care of themselves and might struggle with their relationships.
These feelings can be very conflicting, particularly for those who were looking forward to falling pregnant in the first place. Some women also experience guilt for not feeling the way others may be expecting them to.
Prenatal depression is often overlooked because it’s not as well understood as postnatal depression. But research shows those who have prenatal depression are more likely to experience postnatal depression (after the baby is born). Identifying signs and symptoms of prenatal depression early is really important to ensure parents are able to access the support they need before the baby comes.
There’s now a focus on perinatal depression
, which can be experienced during the period starting from pregnancy through to when the baby is one year old. It’s hoped early intervention and treatment will help reduce the incidence and severity of depression among new parents.
Bupa has teamed up with lead researchers and specialists to develop a new online tool mummatters. It’s a great way for women who are pregnant or recently had a baby to do some simple checks to ensure they’re coping well and provides access to support services if needed.