Researching the experiences of new mums

Researchers are investigating the support available to new mums in Melbourne’s west.

Victoria University’s Dr Carolyn Deans and colleagues are investigating the options available to mothers who feel they're struggling to cope, and assessing what difference those supports make.

The study will specifically focus on postnatal depression, which is a common mental illness affecting both mother and baby.

“Postnatal depression interferes with a mother’s ability to enjoy – and give joy – to her baby in the important period after birth,” Dr Deans said. “It can also affect a mum’s ability to get the support she needs to make the transition to being a mother.”

Experts know the first year of a baby’s life is both a stressful and extremely important time, making it crucial to understand what support exists for new mums and how effective they are, Dr Deans said.

Mothers with a baby under 12 months of age who live in Brimbank, Wyndham, Melton and Moonee Valley may be eligible to participate.

Half of the women in the study will be given access to free group therapy for depression, a gold standard treatment that most women find helpful. Participants allocated to this group attend a therapy group in their local area, with free childcare while they attend.

“This research study does not replace treatment or care; rather, it looks at the options women in western Melbourne have when they have postnatal difficulties and the impact of those options for support on their lives,” she said. “It is being run in cooperation with maternal and child health nurses, focusing on the options for referral that nurses commonly use.”

Dr Deans said by participating in this study mums could find out more about available services but also help other women in western Melbourne as the project findings will be reported back to government.

This project is being conducted by Dr Carolyn Deans at Victoria University and Professor Anne Buist at The University of Melbourne.

If you would like information about the trial please contact Dr Deans on 03 9919 2334 or visit the website at 

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