Pregnancy support counselling is a particular type of nonjudgmental counselling that aims to provide support and objective information for women experiencing difficulties related to recent or current pregnancy, or even whether to consider planning a pregnancy. Reasons why women may access this service include the following:
– Discussing issues related to a recent pregnancy, such as loss (including miscarriage, stillbirth, birth trauma, or loss of your infant), or coming to terms with a termination.
– Working through issues related to a current pregnancy- such as how to share this news with others; processing mixed feelings about the pregnancy; and whether to continue the pregnancy, or not. Research has shown that between 25% – 40% of pregnancies in Australia are unintended. Obtaining support in a time of confusion, and discussing options confidentially, can help someone come to terms with unexpected pregnancy.
– Some women may want to look at trying for a baby in the future, but have concerns about this due to fertility issues, difficult past pregnancies or births, previous pregnancy or infant loss, genetic risks, perinatal depression and anxiety, and more.
Accessing pregnancy counselling requires a GP referral to a qualified practitioner, and provides a Medicare rebate for three sessions per pregnancy. Not every psychologist or mental health professional can provide pregnancy support- you have to be trained in this approach. Pregnancy counselling is also different to a typical GP referral to psychologist (a ‘mental health care plan’, which provides up to 10 sessions per calendar year), although this can also be accessed if pregnancy-related issues take a significant toll on your mental or emotional health.
Dr Emma Black provides pregnancy counselling services.