Basic Research in PND

Identifying and managing risk factors; effects of anxiety and sleep; maternal and infant weight gain; effects on mother-infant relationships and infant development.

In collaboration with Perinatal Depression & Anxiety Australia (PANDA) we have published an Australian survey of the public’s perinatal mental health literacy (Smith, Gemmill, & Milgrom, 2019). The results of PANDA’s survey show that although public awareness of postnatal depression appeared high, other perinatal mental health areas including anxiety, antenatal mental health, and men’s mental health were considerably less well-understood.

A focus of PIRI’s research has been the relative importance of psychosocial risk factors for PND. PIRI was involved in the beyondblue funded National Postnatal Depression Project (2001-2005) which included a sample of 40,333 women – probably the largest and most demographically comprehensive study of its kind yet conducted anywhere in the world. Individual risk factors of unique importance were partialled out. This is also the first quantification of risk of perinatal depression for Indigenous Australians.

Other basic research includes exploration of the relationship between depression, anxiety and sleep, as well as the impact of depression on maternal and child weight.