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Perinatal Psychiatry (PSYT90068)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 6.25On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codePSYT90068
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

The perinatal period, encompassing pregnancy and the post-natal period, is one of enormous psychological, physiological and relational change. The healthy psychological adjustment of parents during this life transition is important for the later development of secure attachment relationships. There is a general misunderstanding that pregnancy is protective, when in fact most mental illnesses have an onset during the childbearing years. The first couple of seminars will cover the psychological processes of childbearing including “normal” pregnancies and the extra challenges that couples may encounter (medically high-risk pregnancies, foetal malformation, termination of pregnancy, miscarriage, neonatal loss, prolonged infertility and the use of assisted reproduction technology). There will be a seminar, introducing students to attachment theory, which forms the theoretic underpinnings for parent-infant mental health research and clinical interventions. The final couple of seminars will address the clinical assessment and management of psychiatric disorders, both existing and new-onset, in the perinatal period using a biopsychosocial model.

Intended learning outcomes

  • To have an understanding of the psychological adjustments during pregnancy and the post-partum period for both parents
  • To understand the psychological impact of infertility and assisted reproduction technology for both parents
  • To understand the psychological, ethical and legal issues involved with reproductive loss and termination of pregnancy
  • To be acquainted with attachment theory and current concepts in infant mental health, including parent-infant psychotherapy
  • To have the knowledge to clinically assess and manage high prevalent disorders (anxiety and depression) in pregnancy and the post-partum
  • To have the knowledge to clinically assess and manage low prevalent disorders (schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder, puerperal psychosis) in pregnancy and the post-partum
  • To have an understanding of practicalities of managing psychiatric disorders in the perinatal period including prescribing psychotropics, admissions to mother-baby units, and Child Protection notifications

Generic skills

  • Oral presentation skills
  • Essay writing skills

Last updated: 20 June 2019