Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression

What is Baby Blues?

After baby is born, between 60-80% of women will experience the baby blues. The baby blues are often linked to hormonal changes three or four days after delivery. During this time, the pregnancy hormones dissipate, milk production begins, and women often feel a sense of physical and emotional anticlimax after the birth. Returning home from the hospital also may increase a woman’s sense of insecurity as a new mother. 

What is the difference between Postpartum Depression and Baby Blues?

Baby Blues symptoms: irritability, impatience, tearfulness, nervousness, and feelings of fear or insecurity. These feelings usually last from a few days to a few weeks and will fade away on their own.

Postpartum Depression symptoms: lack of appetite, inability to sleep, feelings of isolation, feelings of anger or resentment towards your baby, feelings of inadequacy as a new mother, inability to take care of yourself or your baby, having little interest in your baby, feelings of worthlessness, extreme anxiety and guilt, or suicidal thoughts. Postpartum Depression can occur anytime from baby’s birth to 2 years of age, and can last many months.

What can help?
Support from family, friends, and other new mothers is very helpful. As a new mother, you may need to talk about your concerns to others who have either been there before, or who are just good listeners. If you need to cry, cry. It is important to release feelings, and not to bottle them up. 
- Creating routine in your life nurtures healthy thoughts and feelings.
Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy diet are important. 
- Get rest whenever you have the opportunity.  Few new mothers get enough rest, since they are occupied with responding to the needs of the baby, or, during the times when rest would be possible, they are disturbed by hospital routines or by visitors who may stay too long. Let guests know when it’s time to go!

If you are concerned that you may be experiencing Postpartum Depression, or if you have a history of depression it is important that you see your health care provider and explain your feelings to him or her: you are not alone. Your health care provider may suggest counseling, medical treatment, group-therapy, or other treatment options.

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