Postnatal Depression Awareness Week 2011 - The Baby Blues
This week as part of Postnatal Depression Awareness Week, Bubhub will be providing information and resources on a different type of depression each day. On Monday we are looking at the Baby Blues, on Tuesday - Postnatal Depression; Wednesday - Antenatal Depression; Thursday - Postpartum Psychosis and on Friday - Depression in Men.
The Baby Blues
Having a baby is supposed to be one of the happiest times in your life, and the pressure on women to feel nothing but joy at the arrival of their little one is immense. But did you know that during the first few weeks after birth around 80% of women experience tearfulness, mood swings, feelings of not coping, being overwhelmed and anxious, and have difficulty sleeping when not caring for their baby?
These symptoms are referred to as the 'Baby Blues', and are normal and to be expected in new mums for up to 10 days after birth as the body re-adjusts its hormone levels following pregnancy/birth. The Baby Blues will usually resolve within 10 days without treatment as your hormones begin to return to pre-pregnancy levels.
It is normal to feel overwhelmed, anxious and tearful in those early days as your body adjusts after birth, and as you adjust to Motherhood. It is OK to ask for help from your family, friends, midwife and/or GP during this time.
So what can you do if you're feeling blue during those early days as you recover from the birth, and as your body adjusts? Some ideas include:
- Accept offers of help such as housework, childcare, meals and errands;
- Take things one step at a time; try looking ahead no more than one hour. A lot can change in an hour;
- Restrict the number of visitors when you're feeling tired or overwhelmed (well-wishers can often overlook the exhaustion of caring for a newborn);
- Eat as well as you can at mealtimes and keep your energy levels up with healthy snacks in-between;
- Talk to other Mum friends as they are more likely to understand what you're going through;
- Talk with your partner, family and friends about what you are feeling instead of bottling it all up inside;
- Make time for you every day, for however short a time, to do something you enjoy or find relaxing;
- Prioritise sleep and rest when the baby sleeps;
- Try to get out of the house every day for a walk, however brief. Physical activity can help prevent and manage depression.
If you know someone who has recently given birth, some of the ways that you can support them include:
- Offering to help with cooking, housework, shopping, errands;
- Offering to look after any other children;
- Spending time listening to them;
- Not offering advice unless it is asked for;
- Offering to spend time with the baby so that the mum can have some time to herself.
The Baby Blues are not the same thing as Postnatal Depression, which we will
look at in more detail tomorrow.
- Tips and hints for unsettled babies - http://www.panda.org.au/images/stori...led_Babies.pdf
- Adjusting to parenthood - http://www.panda.org.au/images/stori...Parenthood.pdf
- The Myths of Motherhood - http://www.panda.org.au/practical-information/26-mood-changes?start=1
- Beyond Blue -http://www.beyondblue.org.au
- Black Dog Institute - http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au
- Post and Antenatal Depression Association - http://www.panda.org.au/~ This article is intended as a guide, and is not a substitute for medical advice. It does not replace the need to visit your GP should that need arise ~