Lifestyle

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.

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



Get ready before it's too late Queensland

FLOODWATER: The Bruce Highway was closed at the southern entrance to Childers, just south of Butchers Road.

Queenslanders have been devastated by past storms.

Doug's name to live on

HONOUR: The late Doug Schofield, with a trophy recognising his fundraising for Bundaberg Region Crime Stoppers Committee, is being honoured by the council.

Plaque honours Doug's memory

Tannum man, 31, killed in Bruce Hwy smash involving truck

Car Crash Bruce Hwy

Traffic is being diverted through Gladstone

Local Partners

Cliff Richard to release 101st album

Sir Cliff Richard's album cover

Sir Cliff Richard is to release his 101st album

CMC Rocks faces fan backlash over date change, headliners

The 10th annual CMC Rocks festival will be headlined by The Dixie Chicks.

FANS are not happy about festival being pushed back by two weeks.

Kim Kardashian West attacked by man trying to kiss her bottom

Vitalii Sediuk targeted Gigi Hadid last week

Madonna poses naked in solidarity with Katy Perry

Madonna posted her own nude selfie on Instagram

Carlos Santana added to Bluesfest 2017 line up

Carlos Santana at Bluesfest 2013.

Calling all local black magic women

Disney to remake 'The Lion King', and it's live-action

The Lion King is coming back to movie theatres

And this time it's going to be live-action.

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

Developers boost confidence in Bundaberg property market

Slow and steady growth has always been Bundaberg’s way

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

First stages of $25 million housing development underway

New development on Madsen Rd - The Springs.

The blocks of land are much bigger than usual

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.