What is antenatal depression?

Antenatal depression is when a woman experiences depression during pregnancy. Australian research indicates that antenatal depression is experienced by up to one in ten women (9 per cent).

Could it be antenatal depression?

Women experience a wide range of emotions during pregnancy, ranging from joy and excitement to stress or apprehension. The physical changes can also have an impact on a woman's mood and feelings. For some women, an unplanned pregnancy can be a destabilising experience, particularly if it happens in a stressful situation, if she is on her own, still in her adolescence or just not quite ready.

There is no right or wrong way to feel during pregnancy. Your reactions and emotions will depend on your situation, although it can be hard to know whether your feelings are within the 'normal' range when you are not under your 'normal' circumstances.

What is postnatal depression?

Postnatal depression is when a woman experiences depression that develops between one month and up to one year after the birth of a baby. Postnatal depression affects up to one in seven women (almost 16 per cent) giving birth in Australia.

Could it be postnatal depression?

Often, the reality of becoming a parent is very different from what was expected or from images of parenthood portrayed in the media. All parents go through a period of adjustment as they try to handle the huge changes a baby brings. For most people, this time of adjustment will be temporary and not overly distressing.

Up to 80 per cent of women experience the baby blues between the third and tenth day after giving birth, due to changes in hormone levels following childbirth. Women can feel tearful or overwhelmed but this usually passes within a few days and without specific care apart from support and understanding.

However, if symptoms persist beyond these early days, the woman may be experiencing symptoms of depression.

If you are having thoughts of suicide or harming yourself or your baby, seek professional help immediately.

Find out more