Perinatal Mental Health

The Royal Hospital for Women is a busy tertiary maternity hospital that deals with a significant number of referrals from within its own (South Eastern Sydney) Local Health District and from across New South Wales.

A Perinatal Psychologist working across The Royal’s Maternity Services will provide structured evidence-based therapies to perinatal women suffering from anxiety, depression and more severe psychological conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (eg. following a traumatic delivery), where medication alone is not enough.

  • 1 in 5 pregnant women and new mothers will suffer from clinical anxiety or depression and the risk is greatest in the first postnatal months.
  • Depression often impacts on a mother’s relationship with her partner, her ability to parent effectively and the wellbeing of her infant and the family as a whole.
  • The first postnatal year is critical to the development of healthy infant attachment and this relies on the mother being emotionally stable and available; 
  • Without healthy infant attachment the offspring’s emotional resilience and ability to form trusting relationships will likely be compromised.

The Royal Hospital for Women is unique in providing a Perinatal Mental Health Service to its women up to the end of the first postnatal year. This continuity of care is critical to these mothers making a full recovery. While our psychiatrists offer diagnosis and medication management, the services of a psychologist are needed to provide the counselling that underpins a full recovery in terms of parenting confidence, and promotion of healthy relationships with their infant and partner.

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