Anxiety is the most common mental-health issue in Australia affecting two million people.

One in three women and one in five men will experience anxiety at some stages of their life.

Anxiety is generally caused by a combination of several factors, some of which can include personality, mental health conditions, ongoing stressful events, physical health problems and substance abuse.

There are different types of anxiety but the most common forms are generalised anxiety disorder (where a person feels anxious most days and for prolonged periods of time), social anxiety, specific phobias and panic disorder (recurrent panic attacks).

Nearly everyone experiences anxious moments – day to day worries that come and go. For some people, these feelings can be debilitating. They stay with them on their best days and make it hard to cope with daily life. Their worries are constant: they may feel physically tense and their minds will not stop racing.

We know that one of the main reasons many expectant or new parents affected by perinatal or postnatal anxiety do not reach out for help is because they do not understand what is happening to them.

Many people live like this for years before seeking treatment, sometimes because they do not recognise the symptoms or they fear being discriminated against, judged or stigmatised if they do reach out for help.

Recent research from beyondblue tells us that 90% of the general population agrees that anxiety is a genuine medical condition.

Support is available. Our patients can always talk to Len or one of our experienced midwives. You can talk to your GP or Maternal Health Nurse.

The beyondblue phone support service is 1300 224 636.

PANDA Australia can be contacted on 1300726306.


Strategies when you are feeling anxious

  • Try slow breathing. When you are anxious, your breathing becomes fast and shallow. Try deliberately to slow your breathing down. Count to three as you breathe slowly in and out.
  • Try and stay in the present moment. Anxiety can make your thoughts live in a terrible future that has not and most likely will not happen. Try to bring yourself back to where you are. Practicing meditation can help.
  • Focus on a healthy lifestyle. Keeping active, eating well, spending time with your family and friends, reducing stress and participating in activities that you enjoy are all effective in reducing anxiety and improving wellbeing.
  • How you think affects how you feel. Anxiety can make you overestimate the danger in a situation and underestimate your ability to handle it. Try to think of different interpretations to a situation that is making you anxious rather than jumping to the worst-case scenario.
  • Be kind to yourself. Remember that you are not your anxiety. You are not weak. You are not inferior. You have a common mental health condition called anxiety.

Dr Len Kliman is one of Melbourne’s most experienced and trusted obstetricians and gynaecologists.

With over three decades of experience, Dr Kliman has delivered over 20,000 babies and still counting!

In 2017, Dr Kliman was awarded an Order of Australia for his services to obstetrics and gynaecology.