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10 Ways to Help New Mums Struggling with their Mental Health

In Features, Mind Health, Motherhood, Stories by Nicole Fuge

A mother’s mental health in the perinatal period – from pregnancy to the end of the first postnatal year – is crucial to the long-term health and wellbeing of families.

Because we all know that mums are the glue that holds it all together. It’s also true that those first days/weeks/months of becoming a mother are hard AF. And we need as much support from our tribe as possible to survive this season.

By Nicole Fuge, MD® Managing Editor

So we spoke to Dr Marcela Martin an infertility, gynaecology and obstetrics specialist, who talks us through 10 things you can all do to help better a new mum’s mental health.

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1 // Look out for the early signs

If someone shows signs of anxiety antenatally, it’s a good idea to link with a psychologist so they have a place to turn to/a counsellor they know if they do develop post-natal depression or over-prepare.

2 // Encourage openness

Encourage women to be open with their doctor. Or encourage someone to come with you for support so you are encouraged to start the conversation.”

3 // Don’t compare yourself

Don’t follow Instagram ideals and be aware how ‘prepared’ those visions are.

4 // Stay active

It’s a good idea to incorporate mums’ and bubs’ exercise where possible.

5 // Keep talking

Discuss your thoughts with your partner and discuss concerns with doctor in front of your partner so safety tips can also be discussed amongst everyone.

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6 // Reach out to the “the village”

Build a ‘family’ network, even if they are not blood relatives. It takes a village.

7 // Learn to delegate

If possible, delegate to friends/family/hired help to lend a hand with cleaning, cooking and so on to get through the toughest weeks.

8 // Take power naps

Have power naps antenatally to get used to your new ‘normal’ sleep pattern that emerges in the third trimester – don’t fight it.

9 // Try and let go

You can’t plan the first six weeks with a new baby like you do your career – you can’t timetable this journey.

10 // Plan not to plan

Don’t overcommit to others during this time, you have enough on your plate.

If you think you might be depressed or you’re worried about a friend, speak to a health professional immediately or reach out to PANDA (Perinatal Depression and Anxiety), beyondblue or SANE Australia.