Home › Health Topics › Emotions & Behaviour > 

Antenatal and postnatal depression

depression; postnatal; post; natal; ;

Pregnancy, birth and early parenthood are times of great change. Having a baby can be the biggest life change that you will ever have. It may be difficult to adjust to the day-to-day stress of caring for a new baby.  

Depression and anxiety can occur at any time in your life, and can often come to the surface with a major event like pregnancy or having a baby. The risk is higher if you have been depressed in the past.

  • Some women experience depression during pregnancy - antenatal depression. Around 12 per cent of pregnant women in Australia experience antenatal depression. 
  • Postnatal depression (PND) is depression that a woman experiences in the months after the birth of her baby. Postnatal depression affects almost 1 in 6 women in Australia (15%).

If you are concerned that you, or someone you know, has symptoms of depression talk with a doctor or health professional. It is important to seek help – the sooner the better.

Support and treatment are important. If antidepressant medication is needed, there are medications which are relatively safe and effective even for mothers who are breastfeeding.

More information

Raising Children Network.

Beyondblue - healthy families 

Women who come to Australia from other countries may be isolated and even more at risk of postnatal depression. The Mental Health in Multicultural Australia website http://www.mhima.org.au/  has information about depression and other mental health problems in many different languages.

Resources in South Australia

 Parent Helpline 1300 364 100.

Helen Mayo House - telephone 08 7087 1047
http://www.wch.sa.gov.au/services/az/divisions/mentalhealth/helenmayo/ runs inpatient and day patient services

  • telephone helpline
  • sends out reading material
  • advises about other available services eg postnatal depression groups in the community

Fathers and partners adjusting to parenthood

When a baby comes along it can turn your world upside down.  It is wonderful and exciting to have a baby but also a lot of extra work.

  • Your relationship with your partner has changed and the routine you had before is now not possible.
  • You may feel inadequate about knowing how to care for the baby and support your partner. 
  • Getting enough sleep may be difficult for you and your partner and this can lead to tension. 
  • Your finances may be an issue now with only one income coming in and more expenses. 
  • If you were not sure that you really wanted a baby at this time you may be feeling left out. 
  • You may feel a great pressure to do lots at home and also do well at work.

Whatever you feel we know that you need support in becoming a father or mother.

Where do you get your support from?  It is good to talk to family or friends about how you are going but most important is to talk with your partner.  Hopefully she will be your main support just the same as you are for her.

Have a look at the topic Postnatal depression: caring for your partner on the Raising Children Network site.

Fathers may suffer depression after their baby is born.

Have a look at the topic Post natal depression in men on the Raising Children Network 

back to top

The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see a doctor, or ring the Parent Helpline on 1300 364 100 (local call cost from anywhere in South Australia).

This topic may use 'he' and 'she' in turn - please change to suit your child's sex.

Home › Health Topics › Emotions & Behaviour >