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New online tools to prevent post natal depression

Up to 1 in 4 women in Australia will experience disabling symptoms of depression or anxiety in the first year after giving birth.

And around 1 in 10 fathers will experience clinically significant psychological distress in the first 5 years of fatherhood.

In an Australian first, new online tools have been developed to reduce postnatal mental disorders in both mothers and fathers, based on the findings of a 10-year research study.

The study, conducted by Jean Hailes for Women’s Health and Monash University, identified two major risk factors that can lead to postnatal depression or anxiety: caring for an unsettled baby and a partner who is unwilling to share the work or who is critical or controlling.

The What Were We Thinking blog and app are designed to prevent postnatal depression and anxiety and promote confidence in parents by providing strategies to help settle the baby, and to negotiate the changes in their relationship without confrontation.

The research suggests that by providing opportunities to acquire essential knowledge and skills, the common postnatal mental disorders in first time parents can actually be prevented.

Uniquely, the tools are for both fathers and mothers: the blog encourages both parents to share their experiences and the app is focused on building skills and confidence for both parents.

Mothers of babies who cry excessively report significantly more parenting stress and less sense of competence than other mothers. Other common reasons for new parents to seek help include frequent nighttime waking, short daytime sleeps and feeding difficulties.

Visit the What Were We Thinking blog or download the free app

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