Postpartum Depression and Anxiety: What You Need to Know!
“I have all but 4 of the risk factors! Why didn’t I hear about this during my pregnancy?? I could have prepared myself”
If you are experiencing postpartum depression and/or anxiety, you are not alone. 1 out of every 4 or 5 women will experience it in the first year after childbirth.
You are also not to blame! You did not bring this on yourself!
Having a baby is the biggest change a woman will experience in her lifetime.
- She is suddenly responsible for keeping another human alive, 24 hours a day.
- Her sleep is interrupted; she will feel sleep deprived.
- She may be in pain.
- Her hormones are shifting after giving birth.
- She has lost the freedom to come and go as she pleases.
- She has lost her former identity.
- Her schedule is no longer predictable or structured.
ALL new mothers are overwhelmed! Caring for a newborn is a big job. It is no wonder this can be a high risk time for the flare-up of anxiety and depression.
What are the risk factors?
There are predisposing factors that can make this time of adjustment even more of a challenge. These include:
- lack of available support people in her life.
- marital tension.
- a demanding, colicky or “high-needs” baby.
- being a perfectionist.
- previous history of depression or anxiety.
- a difficult pregnancy.
- a traumatic birth.
- mothers of multiples (see this fact sheet).
- additional major life stressor (e.g. financial problems, ill family members.)
- history of trauma or abuse.
- history of loss (e.g. miscarriage, stillbirth, death of a loved one.)
What can help:
- Talk with your loved ones or a trusted friend about how you are feeling.
- Speak to your healthcare provider and ask for help.
- Find a support group in your area.
- Be good to yourself; take time to care for yourself.
- Do some physical exercise.
- Ask for and accept help with household tasks.
- Rest as much as you are able.
- Try to have a healthy diet.
- Take medications as prescribed by your doctor.
To learn about the symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety, visit these posts from the Postpartum Progress website:
If you or someone you love is suffering, please talk to someone.
Want to read more? Click here to read about Tamara’s Journey through Postpartum Depression and learn what was helpful in her recovery.
References and More Information:
- “Frequently Asked Questions About Postpartum Depression.” Postpartum Progress. N.p., n.d. Web.
- Haddon, Lynda P. “Postpartum Depression and Mothers of Multiples.” N.p.: Multiple Births Canada, 2007. Print.
- “The Postpartum Journey.” Pacific Post Partum Support Society. N.p., n.d. Web.
Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.