Will Postpartum Depression Last Forever?
Most women will experience some sort of “baby blues” after childbirth, however, postpartum depression is much more severe. Postpartum depression (PPD) is a serious form of depression that should not be ignored. PPD normally lasts anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, with less than 5% of cases lasting up to three years. Women should seek advice from a medical professional if they feel they are experiencing postpartum depression. Additionally, essential daily habits can help manage feelings of postpartum depression. We walk through those habits and their benefits below.
Physical Exercise Fights Depression
Shortly after giving birth, many women experience physical and emotional symptoms as part of the postpartum period. Many of these symptoms, such as fatigue, pain, and mood swings, can be challenging.
One potential treatment for postpartum depression is exercise (after being cleared by a medical doctor of course). Not only does exercise help to improve overall physical health and well-being, but it has also been shown to lift spirits and boost mood in those experiencing PPD.
At first, exercise options may be limited as the body is recovering from childbirth. Remember exercise will look different during various periods of the postpartum journey. With the guidance of a trusted doctor or health care provider, it is possible to develop an effective exercise routine that can help ease the symptoms of PPD. Whether going for a brisk walk every day or hitting the gym for some strength training, getting some form of regular exercise is essential for anyone recovering from postpartum depression.
Nourish Your Body
Healthy eating alone won’t cure postpartum depression. However, getting into the habit of eating nutritious foods can help you feel better and give your body the nutrients it needs. In addition, eating well is an excellent form of self-care.
Try planning the week’s meals on the weekend and even preparing healthy snacks ahead of time. Think whole foods, such as chopped carrots and cubed cheese or apple slices and peanut butter, that are easy to grab on the go.
Making healthy eating a habit can help you manage your PPD symptoms and provide you with the energy you need to care for yourself and your new baby.
Self-Care Is Non-Negotiable
It’s essential to take time for yourself after having a baby. You may feel overwhelmed by work, household responsibilities, or your older children. Instead of dealing with these stresses alone, reach out for help. Take your child’s grandparents up on their offer of free babysitting. Let your partner or another trusted adult take the baby for an hour or two.
Use this time to do something that makes you happy. Go for a walk, read a book, take a yoga class, or meet up with friends. Taking some time for yourself will help you recharge and help you through this difficult period. It will also set you up for success as a mother.
Get Some Zzzzs
Rest is an essential part of overall health, both for adults and new mothers. While it can be difficult to make time for rest when you are busy taking care of others, you must also take care of yourself.
One critical method for doing so is prioritizing sleep and naps, especially during the postpartum period. A lack of sleep can lead to many negative symptoms, such as irritability, depressive thoughts, and increased stress levels.
To avoid these issues and promote your overall wellbeing, commit to adopting healthy sleep habits. These may include going to bed at the same time each night, turning off electronics a few hours before sleep, avoiding caffeine late in the day, and prioritizing relaxing activities such as meditation or reading before bed.
According to the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, talking about your feelings can help shift your mood. For example, researchers discovered that new mothers had lower levels of depression after regularly speaking with experienced mothers who had previously experienced postpartum depression. These results extended to four weeks and then remained steady over the course of the study.
While further research is needed to determine whether this intervention is effective in the long term, the findings suggest that talking to others about your feelings is a healthy habit that can improve your mental well-being.
If you are struggling with PPD, reach out to a friend, family member, or healthcare professional for support.
Develop a Support Network
Women who suffer from postpartum depression often find it challenging to cope with the demands of motherhood. In addition to the stress of caring for a new baby, they may also be dealing with the hormonal changes that occur after childbirth. As a result, they may develop unhealthy habits, such as neglecting their own health and well-being.
One way to cope with postpartum depression is to develop a supportive network. The support network may include friends, family members, or other mothers who have gone through the same experience.
These individuals can provide much-needed emotional support and practical advice. In addition, they can help new mothers develop healthy habits and connect them with resources for postpartum depression treatment. A supportive network can be an essential part of coping with and treating postpartum depression.
If you are struggling with postpartum depression, it can feel like it will last forever. However, there are things you can do to ease your symptoms and start feeling better faster. One of the most important things you can do is to create healthy habits for yourself. This may include exercise, eating a nutritious diet, getting enough sleep, and spending time with supportive people. By making these changes, you can begin to break the cycle of depression and start living again. In addition, there are many treatments available for postpartum depression, so be sure to speak to your doctor about your options. With the right support, you can overcome postpartum depression and live a happy and healthy life. The Phoenix Recovery Center is among the top mental health facilities in Utah and offers a continuum of care for the treatment of postpartum depression. If you or someone you know needs help, call us today at (801) 438-3185.