An international society for the understanding, prevention and treatment of mental illness related to child bearing.

The transition to parenthood

THE POSTNATAL CONCERNS OF EXPECTANT MOTHERS AND FATHERS

Shay Hughes and Silvana Giorgi, S Matthey, B Barnett, D Kavanagh, P Howie
Paediatric Mental Health Services, South Western Sydney Area Health Service, NSW

Preparation for parenthood classes focus on preparing expectant couples for the birth. To this end they provide them with new skills (eg pain management) and new information (eg birth procedures). Emphasis is on the pregnancy, birth and the first few days postpartum. Whilst some work has been done on understanding the postpartum concerns of expectant mothers, little has been done on exploring these issues with expectant fathers. This paper will report on the postnatal concerns of about 100 expectant couples in their third trimester. Couples attending the preparation for parenthood classes at Liverpool Hospital were given a checklist with 18 postnatal issues, and endorsed each as to whether or not they had been thinking or worrying about them in the last few weeks. Data presented will include (a) the frequency of concern for each issue, for both expectant mothers and fathers, and (b) a comparison of expectant mothers and fathers concerns at this time.

 

PREVENTION OF POSTNATAL DISTRESS: DISCUSSION OF A PROGRAM TO INCREASE THE COUPLE'S UNDERSTANDING AND PARTNER SUPPORT ACROSS THE TRANSITION TO PARENTHOOD

Stephen Matthey, B Barnett, D Kavanagh, P Howie
Paediatric Mental Health Services, South Western Sydney Area Health Service, NSW

Postnatal distress has consistently been reported to occur in 10-15% of new mothers, and some studies suggest a rate of about half this for fathers. Among the risk factors often identified for experiencing postnatal distress is a lack of support, in particular from the partner. Clinical work also suggests that for some couples the father is unaware of how to help when his partner is not coping, and indeed his attempts to help may have a deleterious effect. A preventative intervention is therefore being trialed to determine whether providing couples with extra information antenatally and postnatally will reduce the incidence or severity of postnatal distress in new parents. The intervention package focuses on (a) providing information of possible psychological stressors for both expectant mothers and fathers; (b) increasing the understanding within each couple as to their concerns; (c) increasing the understanding within each couple of the level of practical support being provided by them. A randomised controlled design is being used, and data will be presented on the study design and some early findings.

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Conference 2019

Love and Fear 191219

The Australasian Chapter of the Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental Health will hold its biennial conference in Perth, Western Australia from 10-12 October 2019.

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