Online Help & Treatment for Pre / Postnatal Depression
While depression and anxiety can occur at any stage in life we know it is more likely for women to experience depression during pregnancy, and for up to a year following childbirth. Depression at this stage can have serious and lasting impacts on both mother and baby. The travel and care requirements involved in attending a psychologists office can discourage many new mums seeking help. Find out about online help and treatment for Pre and Postnatal Depression and ultimately get back to enjoying motherhood.
Women often find that pregnancy and motherhood are not as they expected or do not fit with the image portrayed in the media. It can be an incredibly difficult, messy and less than perfect time. Many women struggle with low self confidence, anxiety and/ or depression. Up to a week after the birth of your baby it is very natural to undergo hormonal changes resulting in the ‘baby blues’, including tearfulness, difficulty sleeping and sadness. However roughly one in seven women will go on to experience postnatal depression. It is important to distinguish between the ‘baby blues’ and Postnatal Depression (PND). For more information see here.
What is Postnatal Depression?
Postnatal depression is the name given to depression that develops between one month and a year after the baby is born. The symptoms may be gradual or sudden and it affects 16 % of women in Australia. The symptoms of Postnatal depression are the same as depression that appears during other life stages. However at this time in your life it can be difficult to determine which changes are naturally occurring because of motherhood and which are linked to depression. For example, changes to your sleep and appetite may be linked to caring for your new baby but are also symptoms of depression.
If you are experiencing some of the symptoms below for more than two weeks then it is important to seek treatment and help.
- Low mood and/or feeling numb
- Feeling inadequate, sad, guilty, hopeless, ashamed, worthless, or thoughts of being a failure
- Feeling angry, irritable or resentful
- Feeling tearful
- Fear for the baby and/or fear of being alone with the baby
- Fear of going out and/or withdrawing from social contact
- Feeling unmotivated, feeling unable to cope with the daily routine
- Loss of interest in things that you previously enjoyed
- Insomnia (being unable to fall asleep or get back to sleep after night feeds)
- Or excessive (too much) sleep, having nightmares
- Appetite changes (not eating or over-eating)
- Not looking after yourself properly
- Lack of energy/ exhaustion
- Difficulty concentrating, difficulty making decisions and poor memory
- Thoughts of harming yourself or the baby, ending your life, or wanting to escape or get away from everything.
- Relationship concerns, such as worrying your partner may leave once the baby is born
- Conflict with parents: pregnancy can often stir up emotions regarding your own childhood
- Fear of seeking help
(Some of the symptoms above are related to lack of sleep which often occurs with a new baby)see our online assessment tools
How can an Online Psychologist help with pre/ postnatal depression?
We apply evidence based strategies to help you to break the negative vicious cycle of depression and restore your emotional well-being. Our Online Psychologists use the psychological treatment of choice: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) to treat pre and postnatal depression.
Often for the first few weeks you will be offered weekly sessions of 50-60 minutes with an online psychologist. The sessions will help you to understand the changes in your mood, develop healthy coping strategies, improve problem solving, adjust to life changes, regain engagement with others and rejoin activities that you previously enjoyed. As you progress sessions will be spaced further apart.
The benefits of an online psychologist are flexible appointment times, no need to travel to appointments and no childcare requirements. We also offer additional email or telephone support between sessions. Treatment for postnatal depression varies between 6 to 12 weeks and depends on your individual circumstances.