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FAQ - Perinatal Anxiety and Depression

The Waikato Family Centre have been supporting women and their whānau struggling with perinatal anxiety and depression for over 20 years. Below we answer some of the most common questions we get asked from mums and their partners.

What is postnatal depression?

After your baby is born it is common for women to experience a huge range of emotions - both high and low. You may have heard of the ‘baby blues’ which is common in the first week or so after giving birth.
However, for some mothers these low and negative feelings don’t go away and sometimes this can develop into postnatal depression.

How do I know if I have postnatal depression?

  • Have you lost your smile?
  • Are you exhausted?
  • Are you crying a lot?
  • Are you putting yourself down?
  • Does noise irritate your?
  • Are you quick to get angry?
  • Are you withdrawing from friends and relatives?
  • Are you covering up your feelings?
  • Do you feel like you can’t cope?
  • Do you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby?

If you are concerned about the changes in you since having your baby or if your feelings have become extreme and are affecting your day-to-day life, then you could be suffering from postnatal depression.

What are the signs of postnatal depression I should look out for in my partner?

A mother may experience some, or all, of these symptoms:

  • chronic fatigue
  • tearfulness
  • mood swings
  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • irregular eating patterns
  • lack of concentration
  • poor memory
  • loss of interest in sex
  • inability to get organised
  • feelings of guilt
  • feelings of being unable to cope with baby
  • negative feelings towards baby
  • general social withdrawal
  • feelings of worthlessness

Is postnatal depression common?

Yes. It can affect 1 in 10 women.

Who can get it?

Any woman can be affected regardless of age, ethnicity or background.

When can postnatal depression occur?

It generally occurs in the weeks and months after childbirth. However changes may occur in the few weeks before delivery and up to one year later.

Will my partner be like this all the time?

No. There will be good days and bad days.

Will it affect our relationship?

Unless it is treated it can cause significant distress in a relationship.

Is postnatal depression treatable?

Absolutely! Early recognition and help will lead to both you and your partner feeling better, sooner.

How do I get help?

The Waikato Family Centre offers free support and guidance from our team of qualified nurses.

If you are in crisis and fear for your safety, your child's safety, or that of a loved one, please dial 111 immediately.

Getting help

If you are concerned that you (or your partner) are suffering from postnatal distress/anxiety and are looking for help, then check out the Waikato Family’s Centre’s range of FREE support and advice available to Waikato based families/whanau of the community and greater Waikato.


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