Can You Prevent Post-Partum Depression?
By LNapolitanoPsyD on March 14, 2014
The short answer is, yes, if you are proactive about building a support network before you have the baby. And if you’ve ever experienced an episode of depression in the past, you are at risk for developing post-partum depression or ‘the baby blues.’
Symptoms of post-partum depression include: detachment from your baby, sadness, anxiety, crying, difficulty sleeping, guilt about your inability to be a ‘good mother,’ and fantasies of either abandoning or hurting your baby. Post-partum depression can be very scary and overwhelming. Many new moms report deep shame about not enjoying the transition into motherhood.
Tips for preventing post-partum depression:
Talk to your obstetrician about your concerns. Be open about any past anxiety or depression.
Start therapy. Weekly psychotherapy will help you to get emotionally ready for the shift that will occur after the baby is born.
Interview childcare helpers before the baby is born:
- Night nurses are a lifesaver.
- Help during the day will let you run errands or see a friend.
- Doulas are an amazing resource for mentoring and support before, during and after childbirth.
Research resources for new moms:
- Local lactation groups
- Mom groups that meet for playdates
- Baby music classes
- Stroller exercise groups
- Mommy & me yoga classes
The key to surviving the change in your life is to reach out for as much support as possible. Don’t go it alone – it takes a village!
Lauren Napolitano, Psy.D.
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