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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is antenatal and postnatal depression?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 2


    beyondblue is a national, independent, not-for-profit organisation working to address issues associated with depression, anxiety and related disorders in Australia.beyondblue is a bipartisan initiative of … View Profile

    Adjusting to life as a mother can be difficult. In fact, for many women, having a baby is the most significant life-changing event they will ever experience. Adjusting to this major life change, as well as coping with the day-to-day stress of a new baby, can make some women more likely to experience depression at this time, particularly if they've experienced depression in the past.

    Some women may experience depression during pregnancy and this is referred to as Antenatal Depression. Around 10 per cent of pregnant women in Australia experience antenatal depression and it is less common than depression which is experienced after the birth of a baby.  Postnatal depression (PND) is the name given to depression that a woman experiences in the months after the birth of her baby. Postnatal depression affects almost 16 per cent of women giving birth in Australia. Perinatal depression is the collective term used to describe both antenatal and postnatal depression.

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    Great answer from Beyond Blue. Just wanted to add that men can suffer from Perinatal Depression too. The statistics show that 1 in 10 men suffer from postnatal depression. Oneof the biggest risk factors for men is having a partner who is diagnosed with depression and/or anxiety.

    Also wanted to add that antenatal and postnatal depression are really just the same as “depression”except that it relates to that period in a parent's life around when they are either pregnant or up to 2 years after the birth. The symptoms and management are very similar to other types of depression.

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    I am a registered psychologist with many years of counselling experience in the field of relationships and fertility issues. In particular my focus is on … View Profile

    antenal depression is syptoms of depression or a depressive episode experienced while a woman is pregnant. Post natal depression is a depressed mood occurring after the baby is born up to when the child turns 2. Antenatal depression is experienced in about 10% of pregnant women in Australia. It is a condition that is useful to diagnose and treat and it might put the pregnant woman at risk of postnatal depression. Antenatal and postnatal depression is referred to as perinatal mood disorder and it might be accompanied with anxiety.
    Any woman experiencing a low mood and lack of motivation or enjoyment in activities that she formerly enjoyed for longer than 2 weeks should be assessed for depression. Antenatal depression is sometimes a biochemical reaction or it could be after a history of depression particularly if medication for depression was withdrawn as part of preconception care. 

  • 1


    I am a registered psychologist with many years of counselling experience in the field of relationships and fertility issues. In particular my focus is on … View Profile

    Antenatal depression is a mood disorder experienced at any time from conception until the birth of a baby. Post natal depression is experienced after the birth of a baby until the baby is about 2 years old. It is sometimes reffered to as perinatal mood disorder which can be diagnosed at any time  for the period from conception until 2 years post natal.
    Post natal depression is sometimes not diagnosed as a new mother will be sleep deprived and might feel anxious or down lose or put on weight have difficulty sleeping and be tired and might even have some crying spells from exhaustion.
    However, it is a sign that all is not well when a mother does not want to leave the house or is not motivated to do much and is showing signs that she is not herself  It is always worth having a discussion when the signs are quite obvious especially if she says things like I cant do this or I just want to stay in bed. Please consult with a midwife or doctor and rather get them check you out if you are feeling unlike yourself. Many mothers need help coping with the adjustment of motherhood. It can be a very joyful experience but it is also quite overwhelming for a new mother who has limited family support.

  • Women's Health Queensland Wide provides free health information for Queensland women. View Profile

    you may find these resources helpful re antenatal and postnatal depression
    Women’s Health Educator
    Health Information Line, Women’s Health Queensland Wide
    Women living in Queensland can also call our Health Information Line - a free information and referral service for Queensland women - on 3839 9988 or 1800 017 676 (toll free outside Brisbane).
    Please note that all health information provided by Women’s Health Queensland Wide is subject to this disclaimer

  • Dr Carolyn Ee

    Acupuncturist, GP (General Practitioner)

    I'm a Sydney GP with a special interest in women's health especially menopause and TTC ( trying to conceive). I specialise in acupuncture, and am … View Profile

    The terms ante and post refer to before and after birth respectively; the term “natal” refers to birth.

    Antenatal depression can develop into postnatal depression; however many women who did not feel depressed during pregnancy may develop depression some time after their baby is born.

    Motherhood brings with it a multitude of stressors, and it is often taboo to speak about how stressful caring for a baby is, when we are bombarded with images in the media of blissfully happy mothers with their perfect (sleeping) babies. Mums might feel guilty that they do not feel this way, worry that there is something wrong with them, generally worry that they are not looking after their baby to their high standards, or feel depressed about not enjoying their babies.

    A great resource is PANDA (they have a great helpline) and also do find a sympathetic GP and/or counsellor you can talk to. Sometimes talking to someone trained is all you might need; or you may need more assistance such as practical help, antidepressants, and some mothers benefit from being admitted to hospital.

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