After giving birth, new mothers will continue experiencing unusually intense emotions for a while. The emotional rollercoaster will feel like you are going through constant ups and downs. The feeling of extreme sadness and distress one moment and euphoria the next.
But if these feelings become more intense and long lasting, you may be experiencing postpartum depression. Postpartum depression affects 10 to 20 percent of new mothers.
If that is the case for you, it means you need to speak to a doctor. Your doctor will prescribe therapy or other forms of treatment. In addition to treatment, there are ways to decrease the effects of postpartum depression has on your life.
Having postpartum depression is completely natural and there are many things that you can do to keep it at bay. Here are some of the most important things that you should know and five tips in dealing with this condition at home.
How Do You Know if You Have Postpartum Depression?
Every new mother can feel tired, anxious and sad on occasion. This simply comes from the changed circumstances in your life. The condition is colloquially called the baby blues and it can go away without treatment.
But having postpartum depression is more than that. It can be very dangerous and requires expert help. What are some of the symptoms that you should look out for?
It’s also important to mention postpartum psychosis. Postpartum psychosis can cause suicidal thoughts or thoughts about harming your baby. This is a very dangerous condition. It comes with changes in behavior and rapid mood swings. If you’re experiencing any of the signs of postpartum psychosis, you should contact emergency services immediately.
Postpartum depression doesn’t come with suicidal intentions or obsessive thoughts. However, it can still do a great deal of damage to your health and your relationships. Hence, you should look into treatment as soon as possible as a precaution.
What Are the Main Causes?
There are a few different reasons why this kind of depression develops. It can come from the stress of childbirth. The hormonal and physical changes your body goes through have a significant impact too.
Your family history is one of the major risk factors. If you are prone to clinical depression and other mood disorders, you’re likelier to develop postpartum depression. It’s also important to consider the fact that some women have to stop using certain medications when they become pregnant.
Additionally, the new circumstances in your life have an impact on your mental health. Raising an infant is stressful and exhausting. It can also keep you from doing the activities you’re used to doing.
What Are the Best Ways to Cope With Postpartum Depression?
Ask your doctor. He or she will evaluate your situation and determine if you are experiencing postpartum depression. They also will prescribe the best treatment for you. Some will prescribe antidepressants but some may recommend therapy, depending on the severity of your condition. Both can be very helpful.
But you can also be proactive and change your daily routine in some ways that will improve your condition. So where do you start?
Seek Help From Your Partner, Friends and Family
It’s crucial to reach out and ask for help when you need it. Your loved ones can help you cope with what you’re going through.
One important way they can help is to provide you with free time. You need some privacy and a chance to work through your problems. So start relying on others to take care of your child while you take a short break. It’s helpful to go on short walks. Meditation is a good choice as well.
But there are other ways your loved ones can help you. Talking about your stress and your anxieties is a good way to gain a better perspective. You can also ask your friends and family to distract you from your unhappy thoughts.
Your relationship with your partner might be going through changes. Make sure that you are still communicating clearly. Spend some time together without the baby as soon as possible.
Pumping Can Help
If you’re breastfeeding your child, it’s a good idea to purchase a pump. This will make it easier to leave your baby with a close friend or family’s care while you relax.
Nighttime feeding is another reason why pumping can be helpful. You and your partner can take turns feeding the baby. Even if you still wake up with your child, it helps a lot to stay in bed and let your partner take care of things.
Sleep as Often as Possible
Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. When your baby is keeping you up all night long, the constant disruption in your regular sleeping patterns takes its toll on your mental health.
This is why it’s a good idea to introduce daytime naps into your routine. When your baby is sleeping, give yourself time to recharge with a nap too. Don’t worry about the house chores! Your sanity and beauty sleep is so much more important.
When your child starts sleeping through the night, you’ll be able to go back to your usual sleeping habits and balancing all the house chores.
Make Sure to Eat Well
When you are on a healthy diet it truly matters. It is a great way to improve your mental health. This means consuming balanced meals of fruits and vegetables.
You should make sure to add omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. Experts say that higher omega-3 levels can decrease your risk of postpartum depression. Natural sources for these fatty acids include nuts, oysters and fatty fish.
On the other hand, preparing meals can be overwhelming when you’re already exhausted. If you have to choose between making a healthy meal and doing housework, prioritize your nutrition. You can also ask your friends and family to help with cooking or grocery shopping.
Start Doing Regular Exercise
Research shows that exercise can help you cope with postpartum depression. Going out for a short walk around the block is a good place to start. You can also try yoga or some light fitness exercises. Just getting some fresh air is beneficial to your mental health.
Unfortunately, postpartum depression often goes untreated and moms suffer in silence. Some women feel pressured to keep their feelings secret. Many assume that the experience is only be temporary. But with expert help, combined with lifestyle changes, recovery becomes quicker and easier. Treatment will also help you improve your relationship with your partner and your baby. It will ease your feelings of isolation and hopelessness.
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of postpartum depression, it’s a good idea to start making changes as soon as possible. Don’t be ashamed of what you are feeling. Most new moms are also experiencing the same symptoms. You are Not alone. Ask for help!
- Coping with Postpartum Depression, Parents
- Postpartum Depression and the Baby Blues, Helpguide
- 7 Ways to Cope with Postpartum Depression, Healthline
- Omega-3s May Cut Risk of Postpartum Depression, WebMD
- The Role of Exercise in Treating Postpartum Depression: A Review of the Literature, Wiley Online Library