Perinatal Psychiatry

Subject PSYT90068 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 6.25
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

May, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 15-May-2015 to 19-Jun-2015
Assessment Period End 19-Jun-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 22-May-2015
Census Date 22-May-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 05-Jun-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 18
Total Time Commitment:


Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Objectives, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.
It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability will impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Liaison Unit:


Dr Tram Nguyen


Academic Contact:
Dr Tram Nguyen

Administrative contact:
Victoria Kingsley

Subject Overview:

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.

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
  • Class Participation 10%
  • Oral Presentation about a seminal paper 30%
  • Written essay (2000 words) 60%
  • Attendance: 75% of sessions (for face-to-face students) OR 75% completion of online modules (for online students) (Hurdle requirement)
Prescribed Texts:
  • Henshaw C, Cox J, Barton J. Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatric Disorders. London, Royal College of Psychiatrists: 2009
  • Mares S, Newman L, Warren B. Clinical Skills in Infant Mental Health. Camberwell, ACER: 2005
  • Brockington I. Motherhood and Mental Health. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1996
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Oral presentation skills
  • Essay writing skills

This subject is available through the Community Access Program (CAP).

Related Course(s): Master of Psychiatry

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