7 Ways to Combat Postpartum Depression
Nearly all women experience some form of “baby blues” – feeling sad, worried, fatigued, emotionally unavailable – in the first few weeks after delivery as a result of the physical, emotional, and hormonal changes brought about by giving birth. This is completely normal and these feelings usually subside on their own within a few weeks and require no management.
While these feelings of sadness go away on their own, as many as 15% of mothers suffer a more serious condition called postpartum depression, or PPD. This is a common pregnancy complication that emerges days after a baby’s birth and can persist for weeks to months. According to the American Psychological Association, postpartum depression causes severe mood swings, unexplained exhaustion, and a sense of hopelessness that can interfere with a woman’s ability to care for herself and the baby.
Why Do Women Experience Postpartum Depression?
Several factors can contribute to the development of postpartum depression, such as:
- Financial worries
- Relationship worries
- Unexpected pregnancy
- Challenges of being a first-time mother
- Worries about being a teenage mother
- Violence or abuse with partner
- Dealing a baby with health issues
- Other health problems
What Are The Signs of Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression shouldn’t be taken lightly because it can be a serious disorder. If you are a mother who has recently given birth, or a loved one of someone who has, here are some important signs to recognize and watch out for:
- Difficulty sleeping – sleeping too much or too little
- Easily fatigued and exhausted
- Changes in appetite – you can’t stop eating or don’t like to eat at all
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness
- Unexplained, uncontrollable crying
- Depression, anxiety, or extreme mood swings
- Emotional detachment and numbness to your baby
- Disinterest in hobbies and passion
- Feelings of inadequacy and unfit to care for a baby
- Disturbing thoughts of harming oneself or the baby
Self-care Tips to Prevent and Manage Postpartum Depression
One of the best things you can do to relieve or avoid postpartum depression is to take care of yourself. The more you care for your mental and physical well-being, the better you’ll feel. Simple lifestyle changes can go a long way towards helping you feel like yourself again.
The main way to combat postpartum depression is to take care of your mental and physical well-being. Small lifestyle changes can make a significant impact on your health. There are a lot of things to do at home to cope with postpartum depression. Here are some tips that you can do to battle postpartum depression:
1. Find time to rest
When your baby sleeps, take it as a cue to get some sleep yourself. A 2009 report explains that mothers who lack sleep are more likely to be depressed and experience mood swings. Take naps together with your baby to get enough energy to go through the days.
2. Exercise when you can
Studies have shown that exercise can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Reintroducing exercise to your routine is not only good for your physical health but your mental health as well. There is no need for lengthy, heavy exercises – a simple 15-minute jog or 30-minute walk will do the trick.
3. Find time to meditate
Meditation has long been established to make you feel calmer and more energized. It helps you refocus your energy and relaxes tense muscles. Meditation coupled with stretching exercises such as yoga proves to be very beneficial in helping with postpartum depression.
4. Keep a healthy diet
Get into the habit of preparing and eating nutritious meals instead of snacking on sweets and junk food. Your body will feel better when you are receiving the nutrients you need.
5. Give yourself a break
After all, we are just humans. Household work and responsibilities can be overwhelming, but find time to take a break from all the chaos. Let your partner or other family member take over even just for a while. Set aside time to relax and pamper yourself.
6. Seek the company of others
Battling postpartum depression alone can be detrimental to one’s mental health. Postpartum depression can cause you to isolate yourself from others. Social interaction can do wonders for postpartum depression. Talk it out with friends, family, and other mothers who feel the same to unload your burden of depression.
7. Make time with your partner
While going through postpartum depression, remember you have a partner you can lean on to. Rekindle that connection between you two and preserve that bond. Tackle parenting challenges with your partner to prevent postpartum depression and exhaustion.
Managing Postpartum Depression
As with other types of depression, there is always help. When these self-help tips do not improve your mood, you may need to seek the help of healthcare providers.
If you are too hesitant to talk to others, you can always reach out to MindShift Psychological Services near me. They provide a wide variety of treatment options to help you combat postpartum depression. Join their Group Therapy and discuss with mothers with the same experience, or consult one-on-one with your provider, and even try Teletherapy if you are not able to come in.