Obviously, having a baby will massively change your life. Although you may expect to feel absolute pride and happiness after giving birth to your little bundle of joy, it is not at all uncommon to feel moody and overwhelmed instead.
The truth is, it’s normal to feel this way for a little while. After giving birth, hormone levels drop, impacting your mood. In addition, a baby keeping you up at all hours of the night can certainly lead to exhaustion and irritability.
Having a baby is stressful and a big responsibility, so no one can blame you for feeling a little down at times. In fact, you’re not alone! Up to 80 percent of new mothers are susceptible to what’s known as “the baby blues.”
However, these feelings typically only last for the first few weeks after bringing home your child. If feelings of chronic sadness worsen or last longer than that, you may be suffering from a disorder known as postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression is more severe than typical baby blues. About 10 percent of women report feeling majorly depressed following the birth of a child, and you may be more susceptible if you’ve struggled with bouts of depression before, or if depression runs in your family.
Sometimes, with all the stress of newfound motherhood, it can be difficult to determine what you are feeling and how to start feeling better. At Lehigh Center for Clinical Research, we’re here to help make that process a little bit easier.
Tell-Tale Signs of the Baby Blues
If you find that your mood swings quickly from happy to sad, or you are finding it difficult to get the motivation to eat, wash, and take care of yourself due to exhaustion, you may be struggling with the baby blues.
If you’re happy and proud of the job you’re doing as a mother one minute, and feeling a little like you’re not up to the task the next, that is perfectly normal. So to are bouts of irritability, anxiety, and moments where you feel overwhelmed
Signs Postpartum Depression is Afoot
Early signs of postpartum depression can easily be confused for baby blues, but if you start to feel hopeless, sad, worthless, or alone all the time, this is a warning that something much more serious may be at play.
If you find yourself crying a lot or struggling to bond with your child, or if you’re suffering from frequent panic and anxiety attacks, you should speak to a mental health professional immediately.
Untreated postpartum depression can affect your ability to care for yourself and your child to the highest possible degree.
How to Treat the Baby Blues
Typically, baby blues will start to subside within the first few weeks of bringing home your baby. During this time, it’s important that you do what your body needs you to do during this stressful time.
Practice the following things to ensure you’ll start to feel better as soon as possible:
- Sleep as much as you can, and rest when your baby is napping
- Eat nutritional foods. You’ll feel better with healthy fuel in your system
- Go for a walk. Exercise, fresh air, and sunshine can do wonders for mental health
- Don’t be too proud to accept help when people offer it
- Try to relax. Don’t worry about chores or housework. Just focus on you and your baby
How to Treat Postpartum Depression
While you may find it especially challenging to admit to feeling depressed following the birth of your baby, the proper treatment can help you get back on track to feeling like yourself. For this reason, it is important to seek help as quickly and purposefully as you can.
If your baby blues don’t start to ease up after about 2-3 weeks, get in touch with your doctor right away. There’s no sense in waiting for your next checkup.
From there, your doctor can listen to your concerns and recommend or prescribe treatment as they see fit. This may include medication, counseling, or other forms of therapy to help you get back on track.
At Lehigh Center For Clinical Research, we strive to make the world a better place for those who deal with mental health issues like postpartum depression each and every day. Our team sets a higher standard in delivering both quality and care to our participants and reliable clean data to our pharmaceutical partners. Our study experience is diverse and effective, and we’d love for you to come and see that for yourself.
If you’re interested in being a part of our journey to create better lives for those suffering from mental health disorders, click here to check out how you can get involved in one of our many ongoing studies or clinical trials. We look forward to seeing you!