JENNIE CURTINNovember 16, 2009
Nicole Highet...survey reveals confusion. Photo: Andrew Taylor
MOST people think depression is a ''normal'' part of pregnancy and women do not need treatment, according to a survey by the mental health group beyondblue.
The nationwide survey of 733 men and women also found that 57 per cent of people believed women get postnatal depression because they have unrealistic expectations of motherhood. One-quarter thought postnatal depression did not need treatment and would go away on its own.
Beyondblue's deputy chief executive officer, Nicole Highet, said the results were concerning. "If people think that depression is a normal consequence of pregnancy, they're less likely to seek help. This has important implications for the detection and treatment of depression, given that one in 10 women will experience this illness while pregnant.''
Dr Highet, a psychologist, said there was confusion between postnatal depression and the baby blues, where women felt teary and emotional for up to 10 days after giving birth.
The baby blues, which affected up to 80 per cent of women, were triggered by hormonal changes and disappeared quite quickly. But postnatal depression did not disappear on its own and needed treatment, she said. If women did not realise they had the condition, they could miss out on the benefits of early intervention…