What is Perinatal Psychology?
A perinatal psychologist works with women and families during the perinatal period, from pre-pregnancy to postpartum.
This may include:
> Pregnancy planning
> Parenting support
The reasons for seeking help during the perinatal period may include: having difficulty conceiving, pregnancy or infant loss, feeling anxious or depressed, not feeling connected to your baby, or difficulties adjusting to parenthood.
A perinatal psychologist can support you if you’re feeling distressed, not coping or the feelings of worry or low mood persist beyond two weeks.
You can also access a perinatal psychologist as a preventative measure if there are risk factors present and you’re worried you may develop postnatal anxiety and/ or depression after birth.
These risk factors may include:
- A personal or family history of anxiety or depression
- A personal or family history of perinatal anxiety or depression
- Bipolar Disorder
- An unplanned pregnancy
- Prenatal diagnosis or pregnancy/ birth complications
- A traumatic birth
- Limited emotional or practical support
Perinatal psychologists also work with couples experiencing fertility difficulties, grief and loss, difficulties adjusting to parenthood or when women would like their partners to be involved in their mental health treatment planning for the postpartum period.
Perinatal Psychology at Highlands Specialist Hub
Our Perinatal Psychologist, Lauren Keegan, has extensive experience working with women in the perinatal period. Before joining HSH, Lauren worked in a Hospital-based perinatal and infant mental health team for twelve years, providing specialised care to women and their babies in South-West Sydney.
How to book an appointment
Face-to-face appointments are available at Highlands Specialist Hub, 113 Bowral Street, Bowral. Telehealth consults are also available.
To access medicare rebates, please book an appointment with your GP first and request a Mental Health Treatment Plan. This will give you access to 10 sessions per calendar year at a reduced rate.
Sometimes private health insurance will cover psychology services. Please check with your private health fund for your rebate entitlements (no GP referral required).
You can also book an appointment without a GP referral, if you do not wish to access Medicare rebates.
A Medicare rebate of $89.65 is available per session with a mental health treatment plan.
- Individual first appointment (60 minutes) $220
- Individual subsequent appointments (50mins) $200
- Couple first appointment (60 mins) $250
- Couple subsequent appointments (60 mins) $230
A referral for mental health services should be in writing and signed and dated by the referring practitioner and include:
- The patient’s name, DOB, and address;
- The patient’s symptoms or diagnosis and a statement on whether a mental health treatment plan has been prepared (with the patient’s consent, please attach a copy)
- A list of any current medications (including dose and duration)
- The number of sessions the patient is referred for the course of treatment (Initial course of treatment is six sessions, a subsequent course of treatment is 4 sessions: maximum 10 in a calendar year).
- Preferred (but not required): The patients score on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) which can be administered in pregnancy or postpartum (see links below)
- Optional: a statement indicating whether group sessions could be considered