The stigma around mental health related to stress and birth complications have been thrust into the spot light by a recent study.
Aleksandra Staneva, PhD candidate from University of Queensland's School of Psychology collaborated with Associate Professor Fiona Bogossian from UQ's School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work.
The key findings include, a need for psychological assessment to place greater importance on the environment surrounding the mother-to-be, rather than focusing solely on her own coping mechanisms.
"In our research the women who felt misunderstood by their partners, alone, and lacking support and resources chose to silence their true voices. This appears to have profound impact on their emotional state, and potentially on their birth experiences and postnatal adjustment to motherhood," said Staneva.
The responsibility of their infant's well being was described as both frightening and empowering. Some women also reported that being informed about the risks and apprehensions of pregnancy only increased their anxiety, rather than creating a sense of preparedness.
Possible outcomes include poor attachment with the baby, postnatal depression and stress-related risks to the child of pre term birth, low birth weight and various other birth complications.
The review, which canvassed input from 128 women, provides further understanding on the sometimes unrealistic and romantic expectations of motherhood and pregnancy.
Staneva said, "These can result in feelings of inadequacy, defeat and isolation, all of which may contribute to and perpetuate distress. A discrepancy between the ideal and reality has been established as a known trigger for depression and anxiety."