Self Assessment Help for new and expecting mums

Self Assessment

MumSpace provides help and support for the emotional health of new and expecting mums.

Explore the many tools available on MumSpace that have been developed to support the emotional health of new and expecting mums.

During times of stress, negative feelings can escalate. MumSpace connects you to free and effective online programs and apps developed for Australian mums to deal with depression and anxiety during pregnancy and after birth. These programs, apps and blog provide ideas to help new parents enjoy their role and cope with the challenges it brings.

  • Rate your mood and emotions using the MindMum app or the screening scale in our MumMoodBooster online treatment.
  • Use this self assessment to select the tools that are right for you.
  • Learn more about the signs and symptoms of perinatal depression and anxiety to see if they fit with your experience.
Explore the many tools available on MumSpace
Rate your own mood and emotions

Rate your own mood and emotions

Wondering if your mood is spiraling downwards? Monitoring your mood is an important step to help you decide if you need extra help or treatment. Try our MindMum App daily mood monitoring function or you can get a more complete picture by going to the MumMoodBooster Program which begins with self-screening on the well-known 10-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS).

You can monitor and track your mood over time, as well as see how it relates to events in your life, by entering any pleasant activities you may have participated in with your baby, partner or friends and family.

MindMum has been designed to help new and expectant mums cope with the big changes that come with being pregnant and having a baby. As well as excitement and joy it can be common to experience uncertainty, worry, and even sadness. The MindMum app can help you to understand your emotions.

  1. Click here to find out how to download the MindMum app.
  2. Use the ‘How I’m Feeling’ tool to check in on your mood; you can use this several times a day. Rate how you are feeling using our friendly emojis: Feeling Sad? Anxious? Or, you may be Happy or Content?
  3. Track your mood in ‘My Log’ to understand more about what makes you feel up or down.

Rate Your Own Mood and Emotions

You can assess the severity of your symptoms by self-screening on the well-known 10-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS).

Register with MumMoodBooster, our free interactive online treatment to test your EPDS score. Your score will be explained to you.

If elevated, we suggest you continue with the program to tackle your mood.You will continue to monitor your mood over the 6-week program and in your workbook you can see how you are going.

As you progress through the MumMoodBooster program, you will be prompted to enter your mood for each day, as well as periodic self-assessment with well-established tools for assessing severity of depression and anxiety.

You can monitor and track your mood over time, as well as see how it relates to events in your life, by entering any pleasant activities you may have participated in with your baby, partner or friends and family.

Self Assessment - determine which tools are right for you

Which MumSpace tool is right for you?

The Parent-Infant Research Institute has steadily built on its vision to expand the reach of the suite of evaluated programs which are available at every step of a comprehensive stepped-care mental health model. The aim is to provide you with flexible access and move between different levels of evidence-based support as your needs change.

Which MumSpace tool is right for you

MumMoodBooster is simple-to-use evidence-based online CBT treatment for postnatal depression and anxiety. Mum2BMoodBooster is the pregnancy version. Sessions are interactive, tailored to your problems and have been found to be highly effective by many women.

If you’re expecting or have a new baby and are struggling to cope, feeling flat, sad or depressed, this program may help you.

MumMoodBooster is a new online cognitive-behavioural therapy treatment program that has been proven to be highly effective. Available 24/7 and suitable for new mums, it is the only online treatment program of its kind in Australia. Mum2BMoodBooster has been developed especially for pregnant mums.

MumMoodBooster includes:

  • Six sequential interactive sessions accessed from the convenience of your home
  • Weekly SMS support
  • Video vignettes and exercises to help identify and manage symptoms of depression
  • Behavioural and cognitive skills
  • Your own interactive and tailored workbook

MindMum is a mobile phone app to help you cope at times of stress and provides useful tips and ideas to support your emotional wellbeing during pregnancy and after having baby. This can be freely downloaded from MumSpace.

The MindMum app helps you manage stress, stay positive and fulfilled and deal with life’s ups and downs. MindMum provides strategies to address issues affecting mood, relationships and parenting. Access the features of the App through 6 buttons on the home screen:

  • Ideas – a collection of tip sheets for new mums and pregnant women
  • How I’m Feeling – an interactive mood rating tool
  • Feel Better – a behaviour activation tool
  • Work on It – a problem solving tool
  • My Log – provides a space to record your good times
  • Calm – helps you de-stress and relax through mindfulness tracks

Baby Steps provides information to parents on caring for baby and themselves to enhance the wellbeing of new mums and dads.

Baby Stepscan help new parents enjoy parenting and be prepared for challenging situations and manage their wellbeing. It includes babycare tips and information to promote wellbeing and manage relationships.

It is not just an information website but encourages action and recording of good times.

What Were We Thinking is an Australian website and mobile application that supports new mums and dads in learning practical skills for settling babies and adjusting to changes in their relationship with each other.

As parents navigate the highs and lows of parenthood, the What Were We Thinking! interactive website, mobile app and parenting blog give new mums and dads the knowledge, skills and reassurance to parent with confidence.

Information on essential age and stage related topics to help build confidence include A New Reality; Crying, Settling, Sleeping; Every Baby is Different; Growth and Development; In This Together and Your Needs.

These resources offer all new parents free access to evidence-informed, tried and tested parenting advice from leading Australian experts.

Symptoms of perinatal depression

Symptoms of perinatal depression and anxiety

There has been a lot of research conducted to understand antenatal and postnatal depression (sometimes called ‘perinatal depression’) and its causes. Although biological changes such as fluctuations in hormones following birth might contribute to postnatal depression, this is only part of the story.

Depression is not simply a biological illness, or a heavy cloud that “descends upon us” – even though depression is often experienced like this. Instead, a combination of psychological, social, cultural and biological factors best explain the onset of perinatal depression. Some women are more vulnerable than others, for instance, due to a family history of depression. Triggering events such as loss of income and insufficient support can also contribute. The transition to parenthood is also challenging, especially if this your first baby.

While almost 80% of new mothers feel “blue” for a few days after birth, about 20% experience postnatal depression in the months after delivery. Postnatal depression is more severe and long lasting than the baby blues – it causes greater interference in being able to enjoy your day and the symptoms are often described as ‘like descending into a black hole’.

Symptoms can range in severity from mild to severe and can include feeling hopeless, feeling tearful, irritable, and/or having emotional highs and lows. When a number of symptoms (such as those in the box below) cluster together you may be diagnosed with a depressive disorder that warrants treatment such as the online treatment available on MumSpace. You may also experience anxiety, such as worrying about your health and your baby’s health or just being tense in general and having confused thoughts.  Our online treatment also offers techniques for managing anxiety.

Women with depression do not all experience the same symptoms. The severity, frequency and duration of symptoms will vary depending on the individual and her particular history.

You may be diagnosed with postpartum depression if you experience 5 or more of these symptoms in the last 2 weeks:

  1. Low mood
  2. Less interest in or pleasure from activities
  3. Significant changes in appetite or weight (unrelated to your pregnancy or breastfeeding)
  4. Problems sleeping or falling asleep (even when your baby is sleeping) or sleeping too much
  5. Lack of energy or tiredness
  6. Feeling worthless or guilty
  7. Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  8. Repeated thoughts about death and suicide
  9. Changes in the way you move (restless or slowed down)

A smaller number of pregnant women and new mums (about 1 in every 1000) will experience episodes of more severe mental health conditions including psychosis, bipolar or schizophrenic disorders. Women who have a history or a family history of these kinds of illness may be more vulnerable to relapse in the perinatal period. If you are concerned, it is therefore important to speak to your GP or other medical professional.

While many of us are aware that we can experience depression after having a baby, less is known about the experience of postnatal anxiety, and the experience of depression and anxiety during pregnancy.

We can all feel anxious at times. Feeling anxious is a normal response to stressful situations in our lives. For example, you might feel anxious about an important event like starting a new job, public speaking or your current financial situation. A low level of anxiety can be helpful for us. It can motivate us to carry out our daily tasks, increase our ability to focus and make us alert. However, anxiety can become a problem when it is severe, continues for a long period of time, or causes distress, preventing us from doing the things we want to do.

The symptoms of anxiety are the same during pregnancy and early parenthood as any other point in our lives. You are about to embark on something new and exciting and it is OK to feel some anxiety about this. However, many mums (and dads) experience significant anxiety during this time. They may feel panicky or restless, or having difficulty making decisions about everyday things, such as what to cook for dinner. If you are noticing that you often feel anxious and it is interfering with daily life, you may be experiencing perinatal anxiety.

Perinatal anxiety is common, and occurs in approximately 15% of expectant and new mums. Having perinatal anxiety does not make you weak, crazy or a bad parent, it is not a reflection of your parenting skills. With the right support, difficulties with anxiety during your pregnancy and after having baby can be overcome.

Common symptoms of perinatal anxiety can include:

  • Worrying thoughts
    • Excessive worry about baby and baby’s health
    • Worry about being a good enough parent
    • Worry about other things, such as finances and relationships
    • Feeling scared, fearful or irritable
  • Feeling keyed up or on edge
  • Physical symptoms
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Fatigue or tiredness
    • Restlessness
    • Trembling or shaking
    • Heart palpitations
    • Light-headedness or dizziness
    • Disrupted sleep
    • Racing or pounding heart, or shortness of breath

You may be experiencing an anxiety disorder if you have experienced several of these symptoms for an extended period of time, have found them difficult to control, and experienced significant emotional distress.

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