Study shows most women don't seek pregnancy depression help

Studies suggest many pregnant mums are not seeking help for depression.
Studies suggest many pregnant mums are not seeking help for depression. Contributed

AS ONE in 10 Australian women face pregnancy related depression,  a new survey has found that only six per cent of women would seek professional help right away.

The Bupa Health Foundation Maternal Mental Health Survey  found that even if women were experiencing significant emotional stress, they would wait nearly one month before seeking professional help.

Interestingly, more than half of the women surveyed believed that a mother's physical and nutritional health was more important than her emotional wellbeing.

What do you think is more important in pregnancy?

This poll ended on 25 September 2013.

Physical and nutritional health - 0%

Mental health - 0%

Both mental and physical health - 100%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

The Bupa Health Foundation is partnering with influential health leaders to raise awareness of maternal mental health and urge women to seek support early. 

At today's Bupa Health Foundation Maternal Mental Health Breakfast, Wendy Harmer welcomed a panel of experts including Professor Jeannette Milgrom and Professor Marie-Paule Austin who unveiled new research insights into pregnancy related depression.

Fellow panellist and public figure Jessica Rowe who revealed her battle with postnatal depression following the birth of her daughter in 2007 said:

"It breaks my heart that so many women feel reluctant to seek advice given pregnancy related depression is so common in our community. I know first-hand how overwhelming motherhood can be - it's so important for women to feel comfortable seeking treatment so they can get back to their normal routines and enjoy motherhood."

The survey also revealed that women who suspected that they had depression as a result of childbirth were twice as likely not to tell anyone about their sadness and emotional stress, indicating the stigma surrounding maternal mental health is still very apparent.

Bupa Health Foundation Steering Committee member, Dr Stan Goldstein, said while it was important to raise awareness and acceptance about the realities of maternal mental health, the key was turning that awareness into meaningful support.

"By addressing the significant barriers for new mothers and helping them to feel connected, happy and strong enough to provide a loving environment for their babies, we can help our youngest Australians get the best start in life," Goldstein said.

"It's concerning that there is still a stigma surrounding pregnancy related depression, especially when you consider that depression can lead to worse health outcomes for both mothers and children in the future.

"The Bupa Health Foundation is proud of its continued partnership with leading researchers in the area of maternal mental health. Together, we are developing new and innovative interventions and research collaborations to help support women and families."

The national survey also highlighted the value of professional support, with women suggesting they would most commonly seek support from a healthcare professional, over friends and family.

Professor Jeannette Milgrom, Founder of the Parent Infant Research Institute (PIRI) is pioneering new approaches to treat women with antenatal depression.

"Our current research on the psychological treatment of depression and anxiety during pregnancy is breaking international ground," Milgrom said.

"Results show that we can substantially reduce depressive and anxious symptoms during pregnancy using a brief eight-session cognitive behavioural therapy program. This not only helps women enjoy this important period of their life, but also provides the best environment for their baby's development."

Professor Marie-Paule Austin's work with St John of God Perinatal & Womens Mental Health Unit also measures how routine mental health assessments for pregnant and new mothers are accessed across the health system and the impact on referrals into support services. I

It's the first of its kind in Australia and uses the largest cohort of women.

"Assessments during, as well as after, pregnancy are critical to ensuring women are seeking necessary support early," Austin said.

"Our research shows that women who are offered an assessment are more likely to take up available services and support - an important conclusion for promoting assessment as an effective approach to early intervention."

Topics:  depression mental health parenting pregnancy

Witnesses claim couple were 'thrown' from car after crash

Ambulance generic

The crash happened about 2pm with no injuries reported

Woman taken to hospital after crash

Woman taken to hospital in stable condition

Fuel attracting recreational flyers to Gayndah

FILLING UP: A pilot refuels at the Gayndah airfield.

Reopened aerodrome drawing more planes.

Local Partners

Get help at financial info day

A FREE information day to help anyone in need of financial help or advice is being held today as part of Anti-Poverty Week.

Former Split Enz front man Tim Finn finds new niche

Singer Tim Finn has written the music for theatre production Ladies in Black.

Musician finds his way to theatre

Workshops to show you how to bring puppets to life

STRING SECTION: Two puppet-making workshops will be held in the region.

Ever wanted to know how to make puppets?

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Azealia Banks won't take legal action against Russell Crowe

Rapper Azealia Banks

Rapper drops legal action against Russell Crowe

Brad Pitt meets with his kids amid divorce proceedings

Actor Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt has met up with his oldest son Maddox

Pictures of Taylor Swift allegedly being groped are sealed

They could "complicate jury selection".

Bruce Springsteen finds therapy useful

Singer Bruce Springsteen

Singer encourages others to seek help

Kerry Washington wants one more child

Kerry Washington recently gave birth to her second child

Kerry has only just become a new mum again

TRAVEL: Musicals light up Sydney

David Campbell performs in Dream Lover.

We take a trip through one of Sydney's finer scenes

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track