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Becoming a parent can be an exciting period but can also bring unique challenges that often affect your mood and feelings.


Depression and anxiety in pregnancy and then in the following year can impact on your experience as a parent and your relationship with your partner and significant other relationships.

Antenatal depression is when you experience depression during pregnancy and affects up to one in ten women in Australia. Up to one in six women experience postnatal depression, which develops between one month and up to one year after the birth.


Fathers can also be impacted by pregnancy and birth and 1 in 10 dads will experience post or perinatal depression and anxiety.

Some factors that may increase the risk of antenatal/postnatal depression

  • Past history of anxiety/depression, mood disorders

  • Family history of mental illness

  • Relationship difficulties with family

  • Major life changes

  • Infertility/Pregnancy difficulties

  • Birth complications

  • Death of a loved one

  • Social isolation and lack of support

  • Financial pressures

  • Health concerns for the baby


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  • Constant anxious thoughts and worries

  • Worry about the baby’s health or sleep patterns

  • Not being able to switch off

  • Feeling on the edge all the time

  • Not able to enjoy the time with the baby and partner

  • Struggling to bond with the baby

  • Sleep difficulties

  • Anxiety/ panic symptoms

  • Finding everything an effort

  • Constant irritability and restlessness

  • Mood changes    

  • Appetite disturbances


If you think you might be experiencing depression

or anxiety, seek help early.

Seeking help can significantly improve your mood and improve the relationship you have with your baby and other loved ones in your family.


There are several effective treatments including medication and psychological therapies like CBT and Parent-infant psychotherapy that can help with this.

Psychological therapy can help to explore the beliefs and patterns that may be impacting on your mood and you can learn strategies to manage and change them so that you can manage the challenges.

Even though there is an expectation that you will immediately bond with the baby, many women report this is not the case. Like any other relationship, your relationship with your baby may be something that you may need to work on. Parent - infant psychotherapy does help the mother/father to create a loving relationship with the baby and create a safe secure and nurturing environment in the family.

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