Mental health and having a baby during COVID-19

Having a baby is an emotional experience at the best of times. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is understandable that you might feel additional anxiety, worry or stress about your pregnancy, birth or how you will cope as a parent with a new baby.

For many people, the hardest thing about this pandemic is being physically isolated from family and friends. While it is important to help control the spread of coronavirus in our community, physical isolation is particularly hard for new and expectant parents. Pregnancy and early parenthood is usually a time when accepting help from others is encouraged, but for the time being, receiving visitors will not be possible.

Although physical isolation may be challenging, it is important to remember that there are things you can do to look after your mental health during this time. There is also help available from King Edward Memorial Hospital and through a number of community services.

Looking after your mental health

  • Be kind to yourself. This situation is not ideal or easy, but you will do the best you can.
  • Look after your physical health. Do some gentle exercise, eat nutritious food, drink plenty of water, and prioritise sleep.
  • Stay at home, but stay connected. Call, text or video chat with friends and family.
  • Remember your strengths. Think about when things were hard in the past and the positive steps you took to get through them.
  • Know that its normal to be anxious and worried at a time like this. You are not alone in feeling this way.
  • Focus on what you can control, such as what you read and watch. Consider limiting time on social media if it’s causing you stress. Get your information from reputable sources, such as the Western Australian Government website or the Australian Government website.
  • Talk to your GP, midwife or doctor if you have concerns about your mental health. If you have concerns about your coronavirus and your baby, you might also want to see our fact sheet COVID-19 infection and Pregnancy.
Community support

Women's health centres in WA
Women's health centres provide quality, holistic healthcare services to enable women to make informed decisions regarding their health and lifestyle. A list of Women’s Health Centres in WA.

Community Child Health Program in WA
Community child health nurses support all families with young children. The Community Child Health Program offers health and development assessments and screening, immunisation advice and support to families with young children.

Raphael Services (St John of God Health Care) WA
Raphael Services offer vital early-intervention counselling, therapy and support up until baby's fourth birthday, enabling mums and dads to thrive – emotionally, physically and as a family. Call 1800 292 292, 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.

WA parenting helpline
The Ngala Parenting Line is a free telephone support service for parents and caregivers of children aged 0 to 18 years who live in WA. It provides up to date child development information, parenting support and referral to assist parents in their parenting journey. Call 9368 9368 (call back service), 8am-8pm, 7 days a week. Country callers using landlines can call 1800 111 546.

National telehealth counselling for pregnant women and new parents
The Gidget Foundation offers telehealth counselling and support Australia-wide for up to 10 sessions for pregnant women and new parents. For details, visit Gidget’s COVID-19 website or call 1300 851 758.

Perinatal (before and after birth) mental health helpline
The PANDA National Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Helpline is a free, national helpline service for women, men and their families affected by perinatal anxiety and depression. Call 1300 726 306, Monday to Friday, 9am to 7.30pm AEST/AEDT.

Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service
Beyond Blue’s trained counsellors are available to provide counselling and useful information to help support your mental health and wellbeing, based on your specific needs. Call 1800 512 348, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Pregnancy, birth and baby helpline
On the Pregnancy Birth and Baby helpline, speak to a maternal child health nurse for personal advice and guidance on pregnancy, birth, being a parent and raising a child. Call 1800 882 436, 7am to midnight, 7 days a week.

Breastfeeding helpline
The Australian Breastfeeding Association provides the National Breastfeeding Helpline. It is staffed by trained, volunteer counsellors who answer calls on a roster system in their own homes. Call 1800 686 268, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Mental health helplines
Lifeline – 13 11 14, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

External online resources

Playgroup at Home WA – a virtual community for WA families with children aged 0 to 5 years to connect and interact with each other.

Mum 2 B Mood Booster – free online, evidence-based program for treatment of depression during pregnancy.

Mind the Bump – free mindfulness meditation app to help individuals and couples support their mental wellbeing in preparation for having a baby and becoming a new parent.

How is Dad Going? – emotional and mental health support for new and expecting dads.

SMS 4 Dads – provides new fathers with information and connections to online services through their mobile phones to help them understand and connect with their baby and support their partner.

Ready to COPE – sign up to receive free emails filled with trustworthy and supportive insights, strategies and advice about the emotional realities and challenges of pregnancy and early parenthood.

Support at KEMH

Questions about your pregnancy, birth or early postnatal care?

Call your midwife or doctor to discuss your concerns.

You might also like to read our fact sheet COVID-19 Infection and Pregnancy or talk to your GP.

Feeling stressed, anxious or tearful during your pregnancy or after your birth at King Edward Memorial Hospital?

Contact your GP, midwife or obstetrician to discuss whether you would like a referral to our mental health services at King Edward Memorial Hospital.

Please note that King Edward Memorial Hospital does not provide a mental health crisis service. If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide or needs to talk to someone more urgently, please contact:

  • Mental Health Emergency Services – 1300 555 788
  • Lifeline – 13 11 14

KEMH resources

The Finding Help Before and After Baby Arrives booklet contains phone numbers and websites of hundreds of WA and national services. While some of these services are not currently running their group programs, many are still providing phone and online support.