Bonding Before Birth

Please join us for the Healthy Development Adelaide (HDA) and Australian Association for Infant Mental Health SA branch (AAIMH) forum.

As Infant Mental Health Awareness Week approaches (12-18 June) we focus on infant mental health as an often overlooked and misunderstood subject. This forum provides an opportunity to discuss the importance of babies’ mental health as well as some of the issues that affect it. 

Why Bonding Before Birth?

Research shows that the experiences and relationships we have in the earliest years of our lives, including before birth, impact on the development of our brains. Stress and adversity experienced during pregnancy can have a negative impact on babies’ physical and mental health as they grow, but this doesn’t have to be the case. The services in place to support mothers, birthing people, partners and families in pregnancy can make a huge difference. Our hope is that this year's Infant Mental Health Awareness Week will increase awareness of the importance of bonding before birth, and build support for the services which we know can help.


Valerie Aylesbury, Perinatal Infant Mental Health Clinician, Child and Family Health, Women’s and Children’s Health Network on AAIMH SA Branch - Benefits of Membership.

Heather Warne, Mental Health Occupational Therapist and Psychotherapist, Private Practice on Who am I to you in your heart and mind?

Dr Ros Powrie, Senior Consultant Psychiatrist, Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Liaison Team, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Women’s and Children’s Health Network on Clinical issues for pregnant mothers who are challenged to "hold their infant in mind".

Dr Anthia Rallis, Specialist Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Private Practice / Visiting Medical Specialist, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Women’s and Children’s Health Network on How does pregnancy itself affect bonding with your baby.

Amy Schwarz, Midwife, Women’s and Children’s Health Network / Community Midwife, Southern Adelaide Local Health Network on Issues that can impact our babies in our hearts and minds: working with vulnerable families.

Angkuna Connelly, Aboriginal Cultural Lead / Aboriginal Cultural Child and Family Support Consultant, Child and Family Health Service, Women’s and Children’s Health Network on Sit down and Yarn.

Dr Alyssa Sawyer, Senior Lecturer and Clinical Psychologist, School of Psychology, University of Adelaide and Vanessa Richardson, Clinical Services Manager, Child Protection Services, Women’s and Children’s Health Network on New Parents New Technology (NTNP).


A/Professor Zohra Lassi (HDA Co-Convenor), Robinson Research Institute and School of Public Health, University of Adelaide.

Other event information:

Everyone is welcome to attend including the general community. There will be a panel discussion and time for questions from the audience after the presentations. We will conclude with networking and light refreshments from 7.30pm.

The recording can be viewed here (note: not all speakers presented a video). Recording starts at 5 minutes 20 seconds and ends at 2 hours 10 minutes.

Tagged in pregnancy, family, infant health, parenting