Baby Blues and PPD
While most women report feeling a little sad or worried after giving birth, postpartum depression is a completely different story. It’s more powerful and lasts much longer than “baby blues” and if not treated early, can be life-threatening for both mother and child. If you suspect you might be having postpartum depression, talk to a Bluebonnet OBGYN in San Antonio right away. They will provide comprehensive care and the much-needed support to help you get through the problem.
Do sufficient research to be able to identify symptoms of PPD and seek medical treatment. The sooner you get treatment, the sooner you’ll start feeling better, and be in a position to care for yourself and the baby. Some of the most common postpartum depression symptoms include depression, irritability or mood swings, extreme fatigue, frequent crying for no obvious reasons, difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much, emotional or social withdrawal, feelings of guilt, difficulty bonding with your child and changes in appetite, among others. In other cases, postpartum depression can cause thoughts of harming yourself or the baby. If it gets to this point, ask someone else to care for the baby and seek medical help immediately.
Your doctor can recommend a counselor or psychotherapist for you especially one experienced in handling PPD cases. These specialists can help you develop coping mechanisms to manage the problem and heal. It would be best if your spouse were also involved in the therapy to understand the problem and know how best they can support you. Common forms of PPD therapy include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT). CBT helps you identify negative thought patterns that contribute to the problem and change them, while IPT helps you cope with problems in personal relationships which often cause PPD. The psychiatrist can recommend antidepressant medication to manage the symptoms. If the medication and therapy were combined, they would be much more effective.
Try as much as you can to get adequate sleep. This might be difficult to achieve with a newborn baby but your spouse can step in to help. You might be tempted to use caffeine and other stimulants to stay awake but try to avoid them as they can also make it hard to sleep when you get a chance. Your doctor may recommend sleep improvement strategies or prescribe medication and supplements that are safe for the baby.
It’s difficult to feel your best if you’re eating unhealthy. Try to incorporate a variety of foods into your diet, ensuring you’re getting as many nutrients as possible. Examples of recommended food include lean proteins, fruits and vegetables. If you’re breastfeeding, try to eat about 400 calories per day to maintain energy. Make time for exercises to boost your energy levels and lift your mood. If you can’t get out, try aerobic exercises, light stretches or yoga.
Reach out to family and friends for support. Open up to them and let them know what you’re struggling with. It can be much harder to deal with PPD when you’re feeling isolated from people that love you. Communicate your needs openly and honestly and ask for help when you need it. Lastly, join a support group, especially if you don’t have a strong network of friends or family. Being part of such a group can validate your feelings, and help you know that you’re not alone.