Because Mums matter
What is mummatters?
mummatters is an online health tool developed by Bupa in conjunction with experts and mums for perinatal care. It empowers women to test their own emotional wellbeing during pregnancy and in the first year after birth, and can also be used to pick up signs of prenatal and postnatal depression.
The Federal Government is releasing new guidelines for perinatal mental health this week and mummatters complements those.
It includes a clinically validated screening tool for depression along with resources and information to support women to seek help if they need it, and to build their mental fitness in the perinatal period.
mummatters is free and available to all women who are pregnant or who have recently had a baby.
You don’t need to be a Bupa member to use mummatters.
I liked that I could get an instant result on how my emotional wellbeing was going. I thought I was generally doing ok, so I was surprised that I got a high result. It made me feel more confident talking to my GP about it as it gave me something to show her, like a conversation starter.
What is perinatal depression and how common is it?
Perinatal depression is a medical condition which can occur anytime from conception until the baby is one.
When we use the word depression, we’re talking about someone who might have no motivation to do daily activities, they may feel like they are in a very difficult place. They may have poor energy, poor self-care, have difficulty maintaining their daily relationships or performing tasks at work.
Perinatal depression affects about 100 thousand Australian parents every year.
Both men and women can experience perinatal depression although its statistically more common amongst women.
Approximately 1 in 10 women experience depression during pregnancy, this increases to 1 in 7 after birth.
Why do women need to look out for their mental health/emotional wellbeing during pregnancy?
Self-care for mums and mums-to-be is really important for the health of the woman and their baby.
This includes looking after both physical and mental health. Pregnancy and the first year after birth is a time of enormous change. This can be exciting but, at times, stressful as parents adjust to a new lifestyle and the needs of a young baby.
Keeping track of emotional wellbeing, building ‘mental fitness’, and making sure women have the support they need will help them to navigate these changes more easily, which in turn will support the healthy development of their baby.
What is the Postnatal Risk Questionnaire, and how did it come about?
The PNRQ was developed by Prof Marie-Paule Austen, the Director of the St John of God Health Care’s Perinatal and Women’s Mental Health Research Unit and Head of Perinatal Mental Health at the Royal Hospital for Women and her team.
Prof Austen is one of Australia’s leading researchers on perinatal mental health.
She developed the tool to better meet the need for effective screening for depression during the perinatal period.
It’s fantastic to see the PNRQ questionnaire recognised as best practice for screening of perinatal depression. Whilst over 2400 women already have access to this tool through mummatters, by incorporating the PNRQ into the new national guidelines, more women will benefit by having their risks identified and getting early intervention support.
How do people access the PNRQ?
The PNRQ is already available online for free through mummatters, the online tool developed by Bupa in conjunction with Prof Austen and her colleagues.
The PNRQ has been adopted by the Commonwealth government as the recommended screening tool in the soon to be released Australian Clinical Practice Guideline for Mental Health Care in the Perinatal Period.
As such, it should be implemented in primary healthcare settings to all women in the ante and post-natal period.
However, these are guidelines only and what is done by the individual health professional may vary.
What’s your advice to women who are pregnant who haven’t yet stopped to think about their mental wellbeing?
Pregnancy is a time of lots of physical changes. With all the focus on your body and the development of your baby, it’s easy to forget about your emotional wellbeing.
Even if you’re feeling good, it never hurts to invest in staying well by building your mental fitness to increase your resilience.
To access the PNRQ or check your emotional wellbeing go to: