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Guideline to help expectant and new mums cope

Dr Nicole Highet

Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE)

National Perinatal Mental Health Guideline 

'Up to one in five women will experience anxiety during pregnancy and after birth. Up to one in 10 women will experience depression during pregnancy, increasing to one in seven after birth. '

Dr Nicole Highet is passionate and has specialised in emotional and mental health around the time of having a baby—called perinatal mental health.

‘Perinatal mental health is so important because it is a time in a woman’s life where she is most likely to experience a mental health problem and often for the first time,’ Dr Highet explained.

‘We know the earlier interventions occur the more effective treatments are. This is why exciting new tools have been developed based on the guideline to identify those at risk and detect possible symptoms early whilst ensuring women are informed and empowered with good quality information.’ 

The new National Perinatal Mental Health Guidelines recommend every woman be screened for mental health issues during pregnancy and after their baby is born as part of routine maternity and postnatal care. 

‘We are also collecting data in real time to inform us about where the needs are and what treatments are needed. This is where technology can take us to a new level about informing outcomes but also informing best practice and services needs.’

‘There are a wide range of treatments but what treatment to use when and for whom are how the guidelines educate the health professionals’.

Dr Highet shares her experience in developing guidelines and seeking NHMRC approval.