top of page
Samford Psychology Flowers

Perinatal Counselling

Balancing Emotion

samford valley flowers

"Childbirth is an experience in a woman's life

that has the power to transform her forever.

Passing through these powerful gates

- in her own way -

remembering all the generations of women

who walk with her...... she is never alone."

                                                                  - Suzanne Arms

The perinatal period, lasting from pregnancy to the first 12 months after giving birth can be a period of significant adjustment, for the mother and child and other family members. There are major physical changes, emotional changes, and often lifestyle changes associated with this stage of life. Sometimes women will also experience miscarriage during pregnancy, and the sense of loss associated with this can be significant. 

Even mothers with the best intentions, happiest moods, and greatest number of resources can be susceptible to depression. Since new data and studies are being published every day on this matter, there are several things we do know:

  • Communication and bonding between mum and baby starts as early as during pregnancy! For example, did you know that a happy, calm mother can soothe her baby with her regular, rhythmic heartbeat? Similarly, a mother who is severely or chronically stressed can communicate with the baby that the world can be a scary or unpleasant place.

  • Many mothers who are experiencing severe depression during pregnancy will often have less of an inclination towards following up with regular prenatal care.  They may be inclined towards using drugs/alcohol to medicate their symptoms, may experience worse sleep patterns and habits, and may not have an appetite thus resulting in poorer nutrition during the pregnancy.

  • Some stress and intermittent periods of sadness during pregnancy are to be expected because they can be within the realm of the normal human experience. However, studies have recognized that extreme, chronic, unrelenting levels of physical and emotional maternal stress can result in negative outcomes for baby.

  • Maternal stress can result in premature birth, low birth weight and smaller head circumference.

  • High, chronic maternal levels of stress may result in an offspring’s higher levels of reactivity to stress and lower ability to gain pleasure from situations that would otherwise be pleasurable.

Recent research also shows that fathers are now as important to the mental health of babies as mothers. For example, the prevalence of depression and anxiety in fathers during the postnatal period, whilst lower than mothers, is still significant and children of fathers experiencing these problems face an increased risk of adverse emotional and behavioural outcomes, independent of maternal mental health. Perhaps, most importantly, fathers can protect children from the consequences of maternal mental health problems.

Again, it is important to recognise that occasional sadness and stress during pregnancy is part of the normal human experience; however, severe, high levels of anxiety and depression can be concerning for the well being of mum and baby. If you are concerned that you or your partner might be experiencing some concerning symptoms as you progress through the perinatal period make an appointment today to receive the support you need. 



to book an appointment with Samford psychologist Sharyn Ferris

bottom of page