Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression

Motherhood can bring on intense and
unexpected feelings, both happy and sad. These feelings are real and are often hard to
understand. At Logan Regional Hospital, we want to make sure you feel at your best by providing you with resources, and with support to help you along your
motherhood journey. As a social worker in women and newborns services, I want to take a moment to talk to you
about two important issues women can face after they have a baby. These issues include the Baby Blues,
and Postpartum Depression. These are real issues that affect more
than 400,000 mothers in the United States each year. In a study conducted by the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, 11-18 percent of women experience
frequent postpartum depressive symptoms. That’s nearly one in five women who give birth Those with a history of depression are
at an even higher risk. It is important to know that if you
experience postpartum depression, you are not alone, and there is help available. Many new mothers experience baby blues
shortly after their new baby arrives. This is a period of time when increased
emotions such as irritability, crying, and anxiety are present and can
be associated with lack of sleep, hormone changes, or even changes in daily routines. What differentiates baby blues from
postpartum depression is the intensity and duration of the
symptoms. Baby Blues tends to fade within a week or two, but
for some mothers the symptoms are more intense and don’t seem to go away, signaling Postpartum Depression. Postpartum Depression is common and can begin right after the baby is
born, or up to a year later. Postpartum Depression can make it hard to
do everyday tasks, like taking care of yourself or your baby. How will you know if you have Postpartum
Depression? You may be experiencing Postpartum
Depression if you have several of these symptoms, if they are intense, and occur daily for
longer than two weeks. An important thing to remember is that
these feelings you are experiencing are real. Postpartum depression is an illness
caused by chemicals in the brain, and is not a reflection on your
character or on your parenting. It is our hope that if
you are experiencing postpartum depressive symptoms, you feel comfortable contacting your
doctor or social services for help. Without treatment, postpartum depression
can last up to a year or longer. But with treatment such as medication
and counseling, you can begin to feel better within a
few weeks or months. The earlier you get treatment, the
faster your recovery. Don’t hesitate to see your doctor before
your six-week check-up if you are worried you may be experiencing
postpartum depression. Becoming a new mother brings new roles
and responsibilities. It can be easy to suffer from super mom
syndrome, but remember one of the best things you
can do for your baby is to take care of yourself. The following are suggestions on ways
you can do this. These become especially important if you
experience postpartum depression. 1- Stay close to people who can
support you. Don’t shut out concerned family and
friends, talk to them about how you’re feeling. If you know other new moms, get together
and share your experiences. 2- Try to get some physical activity every day. For example, taking a walk
outdoors with your baby can improve your mood. 3- Try to get enough sleep. Be sure to take
naps while your baby is sleeping. 4- Make healthy food choices. Try to eat
more fruits and vegetables, and drink plenty of water. 5- Take it easy on yourself. Don’t worry about getting everything
done. It’s okay to lower your expectation, and it’s okay to ask for help. 6- Make time for yourself. Let someone watch
the baby so you can do something you enjoy. 7- Don’t be alone. If your
depression symptoms are severe, ask a family member or a friend to stay
with you if your partner has to go to work. When you are discharged from the
hospital you will receive a packet on postpartum
depression. We encourage you to read through this information and share it
with a loved one. It is often a loved one who first
recognizes possible signs of postpartum depression,
and will be a key person in helping you get the help you need. We congratulate you on the birth of your
new baby, and hope this journey is an exciting one for you. Please feel free to contact us at any
time during your stay here.

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