The ‘perinatal period’ is the time from conception, through pregnancy, birth, and into early parenthood. As a clinical perinatal psychologist I understand and treat mental health problems occurring in this period. It is a time of life which can bring unique challenges and emotional distress.
Like many Clinical Perinatal Psychologists, I also give consideration to the relationship between parents and babies, and work on enabling sensitively attuned parent-infant interaction during this critical period.
Below are some of the difficulties people can experience at significant stages in their reproductive journey.
Becoming pregnant or infertility
Contemplating parenthood can be an exciting time, however it can also lead to worry and sadness. Difficulties people bring to therapy at this time include:
- Considering pregnancy after perinatal loss e.g. miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal loss, termination.
- Fears about becoming a parent
- Contemplating another baby after a complicated or traumatic previous birth
- Coming to terms with an unexpected or unplanned pregnancy
- Fear of previous psychological issues recurring in pregnancy eg depression or anxiety
- Fertility issues and assisted fertility
Pregnancy and birth
Pregnancy and birth can arouse difficult feelings for mothers, fathers and within the parent couple. Problems leading people to seek psychological therapy at these times include:
- Pregnancy loss, including miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss
- Selective reduction or termination following diagnosis of fetal anomalies.
- Fear of giving birth (tokophobia)
- Maternal history of sexual trauma or abuse as impacting upon her experience of pregnancy or birth.
- Difficulties bonding with the unborn baby or infant
- Antenatal anxiety disorders
- Antenatal depression
- Distress caused by premature birth and NICU treatment
For many parents welcoming their baby into the world may not have been as they hoped. Perhaps you are struggling with the experience of birth, or adjusting to their changing identity. Difficulties bringing people to psychological therapy include:
- Birth trauma or PTSD
- Postnatal depression or anxiety
- Struggling to adjust to the changes in identity and lifestyle
- Unresolved issues re-emerging from ones own childhood
- Worry about keeping the baby safe
- Difficulties in the relationship with baby
Finally… Want to learn more?
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