12 October 2010

The UQ Psychology Clinic is seeking women who are experiencing emotional difficulties after having a baby to participate in a group program.

The nine-week program starting in October is designed to provide tips for managing life after childbirth and allow women to share experiences and develop useful skills to help them better deal with the competing demands of motherhood.

Life after Baby involves coping with the new sets of demands a baby brings, including loss of order and routine, sleepless nights, low mood or anxiety, role changes that occur with motherhood, and partner relationship challenges.

According to clinical psychologist Amanda Smith, postnatal distress, anxiety and depression can affect women from all walks of life after having a baby.

“Women who experience postnatal distress often feel sad, guilty, worthless, and anxious,” Ms Smith said.

“They may also have difficulty with concentration and decision-making, find that their appetite has changed, have difficulties sleeping (even when the baby is sleeping), and are less interested in their normal activities.

“Postnatal Depression affects up to 20 percent of women after giving birth. The symptoms can impact on the woman’s functioning and family.

“Woman can also become increasingly isolated, losing contact with the life they had before the baby came along.

“This is why group treatment for these types of difficulties can be so effective, as women can start to engage with others socially again."

The Life After Baby Group Program is a Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) program which allows women the opportunity to share experiences and develop useful skills to help them better deal with the competing demands of motherhood.

Consisting of nine weekly, 1.5 hour group sessions, the program also provides three partner support sessions and an individual follow-up booster session.

“The treatment approach used is practical and very effective,” Ms Smith said.

“We concentrate on common difficulties that occur during the postnatal period, including anxiety management techniques, communication in relationships, taking care of yourself and having realistic expectations of yourself as a mother.”

The UQ Psychology Clinic has been providing high quality psychological services to the community for 25 years.

It is a training clinic staffed by provisionally registered psychologists undergoing advanced postgraduate studies in Clinical Psychology.

Those interested in finding out more about the Life After Baby program, or any of the other services offered by the UQ Psychology Clinic can contact them on 3365 6451 or visit their website.

Media: Janardan Kewin (07 3365 2619, j.kewin@uq.edu.au)