Pregnant women needed for study of mental wellbeing

Media release

Curtin University researchers investigating the mental health of new mothers are seeking pregnant women to participate in a new study.

Dr Sarah Egan, Senior Lecturer in Curtin’s School of Psychology and Speech Therapy, said the research team is looking for pregnant women in their third trimester to participate in the study by answering two simple online surveys.

“We are interested in finding out how women think and feel towards the end of their pregnancy, and seeing how this compares to how they feel six weeks after the birth of their baby,” Dr Egan said.

“It is hoped that the results may improve what we know about the mental health and wellbeing of women during the final stage of pregnancy and the critical first six weeks after giving birth.

“Most importantly the study findings could help inform the development of treatments for women who may be susceptible to developing postnatal depression.”

Between 60 to 80 per cent of women experience a brief episode of mood swings, tearfulness and anxiety in the first couple of weeks after the birth of a baby brought about through the changes in hormones and stress that occur after giving birth. However, if these feelings continue for more than four weeks, a new mother may be experiencing symptoms of postnatal depression.

“Identifying early indicators of postnatal depression is very important, as it can affect so many aspects of a new mother’s life, including how they feel about their baby and their partner,” Dr Egan said.

“We hope this study will result in a fresh pool of knowledge that will help new mums in the future.”

Participants will be asked to complete two online surveys, one during their third trimester, the other six weeks after birth. The online surveys are expected to take 10-15 minutes each. After completing the second survey, participants will go in the draw to win one of three $50 Babyland vouchers.

For the findings to be a valid source of information, 105 participants are sought to complete the two surveys. All information collected will be kept confidential and carried out in accordance with the Curtin University Human Research Ethics Committee.

Women who would like to take part in the surveys are encouraged to contact Catherine Eliot, research assistant in the School of Psychology and Speech Pathology by email catherine.eliot@postgrad.curtin.edu.au.

If you have further questions about the nature of the study and how the survey results will be used, please contact Dr Sarah Egan on 9266 2367, or email s.egan@curtin.edu.au

Contact:

Dr Sarah Egan, School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 2367, Email: s.egan@curtin.edu.au

Kristy Jones, Public Relations, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 9085, Email: k.jones@curtin.edu.au

Web: http://curtin.edu.au