Getting help in pregnancy
If you find that you may be experiencing stress, anxiety, depression or other mental health conditions, or perhaps you are just finding it difficult to cope during pregnancy, it is important that you seek help sooner rather than later. This way the problem can be identified (whether it be physical or emotional). Once identified, you can be given the right support and treatment.
We know that these conditions can be debilitating. They can impact not only on you emotionally but also on all areas of your life. This includes your ability to function from day to day at work or at home, as well as your relationships with your partner, family and friends. For pregnant women, we also know that, if these conditions become more severe, it can impact on the stress hormones which can pass through the placenta to the developing baby.
Take the first step
- Make an appointment to talk to your midwife or general practitioner
- Find out about accessing mental health support under Medicare
- Find a supportive helpline to call if you feel you are in crisis
- Locate a qualified perinatal mental health professional with our e-COPE Directory
- Learn more about how to seek help
What to expect when seeking help for mental health problems in pregnancy
Your health professional may ask you a series of questions. These question can include how you have been thinking or feeling, and questions about your experiences and situation. This will help your health professional to gain an understanding about whether you may be at risk of or experiencing emotional and/or mental health concerns. Women may be routinely asked similar questions as part of routine maternity care. Just as you regularly undertake physical assessments in pregnancy (for example, blood pressure, protein, gestational diabetes), this is done so that potential risks and concerns can be identified and managed early.
If you are experiencing an emotional or mental health problem, it’s good to remember that, for women, there are effective treatments that can be safely used during pregnancy. These include both talking therapies and medical treatments.
The importance of being proactive
With all mental health conditions, the faster you seek help for mental health problems in pregnancy, the faster you can recover. So, for all these reasons, getting on top of these conditions before the arrival of the baby is best. After all, once the baby arrives, there will be many other adjustments to deal with. This includes meeting the needs of the new baby and the potential lack of sleep.
You can talk with your midwife or general practitioner at your next routine appointment. Or, make an appointment with someone to talk about this issue specifically. It is also advised that men start by making an appointment with their general practitioner in the first instance.