Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Awareness -What it is and what to do
Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Awareness (PANDA) 11 – 17 November 2018
Up to one in five expecting or new mothers and one in ten expecting or new fathers will experience perinatal anxiety or depression. Around 100,000 families will be affected by this illness every year across Australia.
The theme of this year’s PANDA Week campaign is ‘I wish I knew’, because many expecting and new mums and dads are surprised and shocked by how challenging becoming a parent can be.
Perinatal anxiety and depression is a serious and common illness, but it is also temporary and treatable. However, left untreated, it can have a devastating impact on parents, partners, baby and the rest of the family. In the worst cases, it can even put lives at risk.
One of the main reasons many expecting and new parents affected by perinatal anxiety and depression and postnatal psychosis don’t reach out for help is because they don’t understand what is happening to them. Many don’t realise they are ill and therefore suffer for longer than they need to. Sometimes lives are put at risk.
Many parents, looking back, feel that if they had known more and been better able to prepare for some of the challenges, they might have been better able to cope.
What is Perinatal Anxiety & Depression?
More than general ups and downs
Being pregnant or becoming a new parent can be both exciting and challenging. Having a degree of trouble adjusting to the changes that come with impending parenthood or the arrival of a new baby is natural.
Feeling a little ‘teary’, anxious or irritable for a few days in the weeks after the birth – often referred to as the ‘baby blues’ – is common, however, when a low mood or feelings of anxiousness start to cause concerns or stop an expecting or new parent from functioning normally for more than two weeks, they may be experiencing perinatal anxiety or depression.
What does perinatal mean?
The term ‘perinatal’ refers to the period from the conception of a child through to the first year after birth.
‘Antenatal’ refers to the pregnancy period. ‘Postnatal’ refers to the first year after birth.
What’s the difference between anxiety and depression?
In general terms anxiety refers to an aroused mood – panic, agitation, frustration or anger.
Depression is often associated with low mood, sadness, hopelessness or withdrawal.
Many expecting and new parents experience both anxiety and depression at the same time.
Talking about it
Perinatal anxiety and depression is a serious health condition. It can affect any new or expecting parent and does not discriminate. It is nothing to be ashamed of, but many new mums and dads find it hard to talk about it.
Please see your GP if you have any queries or concerns, they are here to care and support for you and your family.
Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Awareness