Toowoomba Maternity

Mental health support

Mental health support

Depression and anxiety during pregnancy and the first year of parenting affect around 20% of mothers and 10% of fathers.

toowoomba caring baby

During pregnancy

Many expectant mothers and their partners experience stress and anxiety.

We have an emotional wellbeing screening program, which has been specifically developed by the Gidget Foundation. It enables all pregnant women booked to have their baby at St Vincent’s to have a free emotional health check.

If possible problems surface, you can then participate in a one-on-one appointment with a trained Gidget midwife. The midwife will explore your emotional wellbeing and discuss your risks of getting postnatal depression and anxiety. If you do require further specialist support, we can help you with free perinatal psychological sessions at the hospital’s Gidget House.

Perinatal depression and anxiety

What is perinatal depression and anxiety?

Perinatal depression and anxiety is a serious condition that needs professional help.

It shouldn’t be confused with the ‘baby blues’ that often occur 3 to 5 days after giving birth. Baby blues causes feelings of teariness and anxiety. It affects around 80% of new mothers. It goes away when simple reassurance is given to the new mum.

st vincents mental health support

What causes perinatal depression and anxiety?

Risk factors for perinatal depression and anxiety may include:

  • Lack of emotional and/or practical support from family and friends
  • Lack of support or understanding from partner
  • Stress, such as related to finances, work or moving house
  • Certain personality types e.g. a perfectionist personality
  • Previous personal or family history of mental health issues
  • Previous emotional trauma 
  • A recent bereavement
  • Being less than 18 years old or over 35 years
  • Living in a rural or remote location
  • Coming from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander culture
  • Coming from a culturally or linguistically diverse background

What are the symptoms?

Perinatal depression and anxiety can have a wide range of symptoms including:

  • Feeling like you can’t cope
  • Feeling sadder than usual
  • Constant worrying
  • Feeling worthless
  • Finding it harder to do daily tasks
  • Withdrawing from family and/or friends
  • Lack of connection with your baby
  • Changes in appetite and/or sleep
  • Loss of concentration
  • Losing interest in sex or intimacy
  • Extended periods of irritability and anger
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide

What to do if you feel like this

Please don’t suffer in silence. It’s important to seek help urgently. 

We have a centre called ‘Gidget House’ within our maternity ward which specialises in the treatment of mothers-to-be and new parents experiencing these feelings. Mothers who have given birth at St Vincent’s Private Hospital, Toowoomba and their partners can participate.

How to access the service

You need to get a referral from your GP. This will enable you to attend 10 free face-to-face sessions with a clinical psychologist. If you can’t attend face-to-face, the program can also be provided by video conference.

Please feel free to call the practice manager on (07) 4690 4127 for more information.

If you need help urgently, please call Lifeline on 1300 11 14