Perinatal period and infancy

'Perinatal' generally refers to the period around the time of pregnancy and the few months after childbirth. Although most women have a positive experience at this time, for some it can be particularly challenging and stressful with the associated risk of impaired physical and mental health. It is also a critical time for their partners and families and thus is a rare opportunity to mediate to ensure good outcomes for all involved, including the next generation.

The following resources address how trauma impacts on the mother and ways to assist women who are vulnerable and affected.

Resources for practitioners

Helping mothers in the perinatal period

 130.19 KB pdf

This tip sheet is for healthcare professionals working with pregnant women with a trauma history. It discusses interventions to support them during this crucial period.

The perinatal period: trauma and families

 379.38 KB pdf

This resource discusses the types of potentially traumatic events that are common during the perinatal period, their prevalence and impact on the mother, infant and other family members.

Other resources

A stitch in time saves nine: Preventing and responding to the abuse and neglect of infants

Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS)
This information discusses the risk of child abuse and neglect during infancy and discusses interventions to address this. The role of parental risk factors is also examined.

All babies count: Prevention and protection for vulnerable babies

 792.29 KB pdf

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), UKThis document discusses the issue of maltreatment in pregnancy and provides information on working with vulnerable families and children during the perinatal period and infancy. The document has a strong focus on child abuse during this period.

Domestic violence, lifetime trauma and psychological health of childbearing women

 91.49 KB pdf

Gillian Mezey, Loraine Bacchus, Susan Bewley & Sarah White 
BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Vol 112, February 2005 
This study examined the association between physical and sexual violence and the lifetime trauma and depressive and posttraumatic stress symptoms in women receiving maternity care.

Investing and acting early

Benevolent Society
Professor Frank Oberklaid provides evidence on how early intervention helps children and society

Motherhood in the face of trauma: PTSD in the childbearing year

Maria Muzik, Heather Cameron, Amanda Fezzey & Katherine Rosenblum
Zero to Three
This article summarises research on post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the perinatal period and how this can affect early parenting and infant wellbeing.

Promoting perinatal mental health wellness in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

 587.62 KB pdf

Sue Ferguson-Hill
This document discusses the protective and risk factors in consideration of perinatal mental health in Indigenous communities. The impact of parental trauma is discussed in relation to these risk factors.


Australian Infant, Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health Association (AICAFMHA)

This organization provides information and resources relating to infant mental health. 

KidsMatter resources

This webpage provides an extensive list of information sheets for parents and ECEC staff.

Post and Ante Natal Depression Association (PANDA)

This Australian based organization provides support, education and information. 

Zero to Three

This US based website focuses on child health and development in infancy and the early years. It features information on child maltreatment during this period.