During pregnancy, possible sources of support include your local GP, local maternity hospital antenatal clinic, private midwife, private obstetrician or doula/birth attendant. After the birth, you can contact many of these same professionals/services, as well as your local maternal and child health service (via your local council).
In 2018, we published a book with Palgrave MacMillan based on the same research that underpins this online resource. It’s called ‘Paths to Parenthood: Emotions on the Journey through Pregnancy, Childbirth and Early Parenting’, and you can read more about it here. (If you belong to a university, you may be able to borrow a copy through your university library.)
Other resources are listed below.
1. Parenting and mental health
PANDA – National Perinatal Depression Hotline
Tel: 1300 726 306 (M-F, 9am – 7:30pm)
The PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Association) helpline provides vital support, information, referral and counselling to thousands of Australian parents and their families. Callers do not need to have a diagnosis of antenatal or postnatal depression to make contact – PANDA supports any new parent struggling during pregnancy or after the birth of their baby, as well as their partner, family and friends.
Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE)
COPE is a not-for-profit organisation devoted to improving the emotional and mental health of parents before and during pregnancy, and the year following the birth of a baby by providing quality, practical information and working with health professionals and policy makers on perinatal mental health services.
Ready to COPE
Ready to COPE is a free, fortnightly email service for pregnant women and new mothers, based on their baby’s due date. Emails contain information about women’s emotional and mental wellbeing as they travel through the various stages of pregnancy and/or first year of their baby’s life.
A telephone counselling and referral service for parents and carers of children aged 0-18 years.
13 22 89 (Vic)
1300 1300 52 (NSW)
1300 30 1300 (QLD and NT)
1300 364 100 (SA)
1800 654 432 (WA)
(02) 6287 3833 (ACT)
1300 808 178 (TAS)
Tel: 1300 364 277
Relationships Australia (RA) is a community-based, not-for-profit Australian organisation providing relationship support services for individuals, families and communities. RA aims to support all people in Australia to achieve positive and respectful relationships. As an organisation, RA has no religious affiliations and its services are for all members of the community, regardless of religious belief, age, gender, sexual orientation, lifestyle choice, cultural background or economic circumstances. Services include counselling, family dispute resolution (mediation) and a range of family and community support and education programs.
Mother and Baby Units
A Mother and Baby Unit is a special unit within a public or private hospital facility for mothers with severe postnatal depression and their babies. The mother receives psychiatric assessment and treatment that will ensure she will be on the road to recovery. The safe and calm environment also provides the essential support she needs to be able to look after her baby and strengthen her relationship with her baby. If your healthcare provider thinks you may require more intensive treatment for postnatal depression, s/he should be able to advise you of the closest hospital with a Mother and Baby Unit.
2. Pregnancy and early parenthood
Search for childcare
This webpage provides information about the types of approved childcare that are available in Australia.
Early Parenting Centres (sleep schools)
Early parenting centres – sometimes referred to as ‘sleep schools’ – offer a range of supports to parents of young children. At an early parenting centre, you can get help to manage your baby’s sleep better. These centres also give advice on a whole range of infant and baby issues. This link helps you to find a centre in your State or Territory.
Pregnancy, Birth and Baby
Tel: 1800 882 436
Operated by Healthdirect Australia, this is a phone and online service for all Australians, providing information, advice and counselling about pregnancy, childbirth and your baby’s first year.
The Raising Children Network
A federal government-supported website with information and resources about parenting children of all ages.
3. General resources – mental health
Australian Psychological Society – “Find a Psychologist” service
An online search, a telephone service and an email referral service for those seeking a qualified and suitable APS psychologist in private practice. For a lower-cost option, speak to your GP about a referral to a Medicare-subsidised psychologist through the Better Access to Mental Health Care program which entitles you to a set number of counselling sessions per year.
Tel: 1300 22 4636
beyondblue is an independent, not-for-profit organisation working to increase awareness and understanding of anxiety and depression in Australia and to reduce the associated stigma.
Black Dog Institute
The Black Dog Institute is a not-for-profit, educational, research, clinical and community-oriented facility offering specialist expertise in depression and bipolar disorder in Australia.
Tel: 13 11 14
Lifeline connects people in Australia with care by providing services in suicide prevention, crisis support and mental health support.
Australian Breastfeeding Association
Tel: 1800 686 268
The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) is Australia’s largest breastfeeding information and support service.
5. Miscarriage, stillbirth and death of a baby
Stillborn & Neonatal Death Support (Sands)
Tel: 1300 072 637
Sands provides support to all bereaved parents and families who have suffered the death of a baby anytime from conception through to 28 days after birth – this includes miscarriage, neonatal death, stillbirth, ectopic pregnancy and genetic/medically advised termination.
Tel: 1300 308 307
Red Nose is dedicated to saving the lives of babies and children during pregnancy, birth, infancy and childhood and supporting bereaved families.
6. Other support
Adopt Change exists to support and educate families and communities in caring for displaced children (including those in government care, foster care, orphans or children without families). They also work with government and other stakeholders to seek changes to legislation and policies to better provide for children and families.
An Australian Government website providing information for Australians wishing to adopt a child from overseas.
Surrogacy Australia supports Australians who are current or intending parents via surrogacy arrangements.
Infertility and Fertility Treatment
Access Australia: Australia’s National Infertility Network
AccessAustralia is a consumer-controlled, not-for-profit organisation committed to providing whole of life support for women and men who experience difficulties conceiving and their families.
A digital resource featuring the experiences of 25 people living in Australia of infertility and fertility treatment, shared on film and audio.
Your Fertility is a national public education program providing information about fertility to enable people to make informed and timely decisions about their reproductive health.
Australian Multiple Births Association (AMBA)
Tel: 1300 886 499
The Australian Multiple Birth Association (AMBA) is a not-for-profit organisation comprising multiple birth families. AMBA provides support, resources and education to multiple birth families.
Jean Hailes For Women’s Health
Jean Hailes for Women’s Health provides women with information, knowledge and clinical care to assist them to actively manage their own health and wellbeing throughout the whole of their life.
Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health
Tel: 1800 656 421
MCWH is a community-based organisation led by and for women from immigrant and refugee backgrounds, committed to advancing the health and wellbeing of immigrant and refugee women.
Based in NSW, Rainbow Families Inc is the peak organisation supporting LGBTQ+ parents and their children.
Tel: +61 3 9663 6733
Stepfamilies Australia is a national peak body working to strengthen stepfamilies across Australia, through providing quality information, family support services, practitioner training, research and advocacy.
7. Contact us
For more information about the research underpinning this website please contact Kate Johnston-Ataata at [email protected].