It’s not rare for a new mother to experience a wide array of emotions aside from the typically depicted unbridled joy and relief. Informally, these ups and downs are known as the “baby blues.” However, a more severe version of these mood swings or even persistent lows may develop.
Postpartum depression is a relatively common occurrence among childbearing women. In fact, approximately 15% of women experience it. Symptoms vary from one woman to the other, as does the duration of the depression.
Understand What Postpartum Depression Entails
Understanding what postpartum depression is can help you curb the symptoms. Things to watch out for on a daily and recurring basis include:
- Depressed mood (subjective or observed) present most of the day
- Loss of interest or pleasure, most of the day
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Psychomotor retardation or agitation
- Worthlessness or guilt
- Loss of energy or fatigue
- Suicidal ideation or attempt and recurrent thoughts of death
- Impaired concentration or indecisiveness
- Change in weight or appetite (weight change 5% over 1 month)
While prevention isn’t clear or simple, there are some things you can do to help yourself cope with symptoms and to lower your likelihood of developing postpartum depression.
Be Physically Active
Physical exercise has been shown to improve health in pregnant women and new mothers. Of course, your range of motion months before and after childbirth will likely be limited. But including exercise in your daily routine can mitigate the symptoms of postpartum depression. And it doesn’t take much to get around to making exercise a part of your daily life.
A study published by the Wiley Online Library shows that exercise provides antidepressant effects for postpartum depression. This can include simple relaxing activities like taking a walk or bicycling. As little as ten to fifteen minutes in the morning or in the evening will promote the release of endorphins, which reduce stress and the perception of pain.
Eat A Proper Diet
A proper diet is important in preventing postpartum depression. The most beneficial diets are high in fruits, whole grains, vegetables, olive oil, and fish. A study published by the National Library Of Medicine shows that vitamin B-12 or riboflavin helps decrease the risk of postpartum depression. These findings indicate a diet that incorporates plenty of well-sourced fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products can help maintain mood and outlook after childbirth. Proper diet replenishes your strength after delivery and improves your mood, accelerating your recovery.
Get Sufficient Sleep
It doesn’t take long to realize how being a new mother takes a toll on your sleep. Fluctuations in hormone levels, stress, and the challenge of caring for your baby all day, and sometimes, all night, can quickly knock your sleep pattern out. Being deprived of sleep isn’t, on its own, a sign of postpartum depression. Most parents adapt to the erratic schedule that comes with newborns and infants. But if you’re struggling with postpartum depression, continued sleeplessness can exacerbate your symptoms.
Cut Down on Extra Stress
Most people feel a sudden anxiety before or after making a huge decision that drastically alters the direction of their life. For example, were you to change jobs during the time of or after your pregnancy, it is bound to increase your stress levels. Any disruption in normal circumstances or any event that can be perceived as a threat to your security while pregnant can predispose you to postpartum depression.
To avoid postpartum depression, it is best to continue your life as simply as you can. Stick to your present accommodation, for example, or continue at your present job. Anything you can do to maintain an even keel during this time will help ensure your pregnancy has few complications.
Prepare Ahead of Time
Another factor that prevents postpartum depression is preparation. Advanced knowledge of postpartum depression helps you prepare your mind for any outcome. It is true that you can never know all the outcomes, but even the act of planning can put your mind at ease by creating a sense of control in a chaotic situation. Preparation helps you know what to expect. It helps you understand your limits as well and have a contingency plan to ask for help before you’re desperate.
Explore Ketamine Therapy
You can get a head start on postpartum depression by exploring therapies like ketamine infusions which provide relief from symptoms of depression. With this therapy you can find a compassionate and respectful provider to help you deal with postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression can take a heavy toll. You may feel distant from your child, spouse, and family. But you’re not alone. Everyone wants you to do well and they want to help. We’re in your corner too. Contact us today to get started!