Dolphin Tribe

Unit 4, 550 Blaxland Road


NSW 2122


By Healthlink (dolphint) or

Ph: 1 800 270 888 (appointments)

    Infant & Perinatal Psychiatry

    Having a baby is a big life event, and it's natural to experience a range of emotions and reactions during and after your pregnancy. The 'baby blues' refers to mothers feeling teary, sad or irritable in the early days after giving birth (usually 3-10 days). These feelings are common and natural (up to 80% of mothers) and usually just last a couple of days.


    However, if the symptoms persist and the mother is still feeling down after two weeks, it could be serious. There are a number of mental health conditions that are unique to the perinatal period and it is important to seek professional help.


    Mental health conditions that may be experienced during the perinatal period include:


    • Depression – antenatal and/or postnatal (up to 1 in 7 mothers and around 1 in 10 fathers)

    • Anxiety disorders – antenatal and/or postnatal (thought to be more common than depression and can occur on its own or co-occur with depression for either parent)

    • Postpartum psychosis is a psychiatric emergency– requires immediate medical attention (rare, 1-2 in 1000 mothers)\


    Serious mental illness (SMI) includes those disorders causing significant acute or chronic impairment including but not limited to schizophrenia, bipolar mood disorder, and schizoaffective disorder.


    In the perinatal period, women with SMI have unique needs. These may include:


    • Increased risk of psychiatric relapse during pregnancy and after the birth of the baby

    • Need for specialist monitoring of prescribed medications during pregnancy

    • Greater risk of pregnancy and birth complications

    • Increased need for support around parenting



    Infant Mental Health


    In the early years of life, a child's brain produces more than 1 million neural connections a second. Only now researchers are beginning to understand how brain's development is influenced by things that happen in these very early years. "Healthy development in the early years (particularly birth to three) provides the building blocks for educational achievement, economic productivity, responsible citizenship, lifelong health, strong communities, and successful parenting of the next generation"


    Infant mental health relates to both the social-emotional capacities and the primary relationships in children birth through age four. It is important to ensure that first relationships are trusting and caring so that the child can experience, express and gradually learn to regulate their own emotions, form close and secure interpersonal relationships, and be open to exploring the environment and to learning.


    Issues that may affect infants and young children can be associated with:


    • Attachment, parent-child interactions and relationships with others

    • Development and learning

    • Behaviour and emotional regulation

    • Sleep and feeding patterns



    Our services


    Our Infant & Perinatal Psychiatrist has extensive experience in Infant and Perinatal mental health. She is also a registered facilitator of the ‘Circle of Security’ Parenting Program. Dr. Makielan can provide complete assessment and intervention for women who have mental health issues from pregnancy and through to two years postpartum. She can also help with parent-child attachment issues.


    Pre-conception advice

    For women and their families, who are worried about the impact of pregnancy on their mental health.


    Antenatal review

    To provide an initial assessment with ongoing follow up throughout their pregnancy to tailor their psychiatric medication according to different phases of pregnancy


    Postnatal psychiatric review

    • To address any mental health issues postpartum

    • Advice on psychiatric medications during breastfeeding

    • Attachment concerns between parent and infant

    • Impact of mother’s illness on the whole family