Public health campaigns could be making expectant mothers anxious, an Australian health scientist has warned.
Dr Heather Rowe, along with professor Jane Fisher, from the Jean Hailes Research Unit at Monash University, identified links between perinatal anxiety and social and health messages that women are exposed to during the perinatal period.
Rowe said: “While a degree of anxiety is inevitable at this time in a woman’s life, the complexity of modern pregnancy and the postpartum period appears to have a downside, delivering over-simplified public health advice as well as professional and social scrutiny.”
The researchers concluded that health and social messages can be unrealistic and cause confusion and stigma that can undermine a mother’s confidence.
Rowe said evidence-based public health campaigns and non-judgemental advice is needed to ensure that women feel supported.
Health professionals also have a role to play here, Rowe said. “By providing realistic and evidence-based information to assist decision-making, health professionals can help challenge the unhelpful messages that bombard women in pregnancy and motherhood, and benefit both mother and child.”Do you have an idea for a story?
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