Feeling a little blue after having a baby? That’s OK.
Here are steps you can take to cope with postpartum blues and signs to look for if it progresses to postpartum depression
Having a baby is a joyous time, but it also can come with a lot of unexplained varied emotions and bouts of sadness.
About two to three days after childbirth, some mothers may find themselves feeling depressed, anxious or upset. They may cry for no reason, have trouble sleeping, eating or making decisions or question whether they can handle being a mother.
These feelings are often referred to as postpartum blues, and they are normal.
“After the delivery, your emotions will be all over the place. That’s normal,” says Dr. Nhi T. Phan, Savannah OB/GYN participating in My Telfair Doc. “You can have postpartum blues for several weeks.”
It’s estimated that between 70 to 80 percent of women experience postpartum blues, Dr. Phan says. Postpartum blues usually get better without any treatment within one to two weeks.
There are steps you can take to cope with these feelings. It starts by remembering you just delivered a baby. It takes time to learn about your baby and for your baby to learn about you.
You also should:
- Keep your expectations realistic
- Rest as much as possible
- Limit visitors
- Allow others to do things for you
- Let your partner know how you are feeling, or if you are single, find and develop a good support system
When the blues last longer than a couple of weeks and start to get worse, you may have postpartum depression or anxiety. Postpartum depression is not that uncommon and is estimated to happen in 1 to 2 out of every 10 postpartum women.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to postpartum depression ranging from changes in hormone levels to a history of depression to fatigue to lifestyle factors. Postpartum depression can occur up to one year after having a baby, but it commonly is noticed about three weeks after childbirth.
Mom will have a scheduled postpartum checkup with her OB/GYN about six weeks after delivery, Dr. Phan says. However, you should contact your doctor sooner or when you experience any of these signs or symptoms:
- Loss of identity
- Complete loss of control
- Feeling withdrawn, isolated and lonely
- Change in appetite (either under eating or overeating)
- Exhaustion but unable to sleep
- Feelings of hopelessness, a sense of failure or guilt
- Mood swings
- Constant crying
- Constant anxiety or doubt
- Sleeping too much
- Lack of interest in yourself, baby or others
- Overly concerned about the health and safety of your baby
- The need to keep moving or pacing
- Difficulty focusing or concentrating
St. Joseph’s/Candler’s Mary Telfair Women’s Hospital encourages mothers that may be experiencing signs of postpartum depression to call or email Project Healthy Moms Warmline. This confidential service provides peer support, encouragement and appropriate resources to help over perinatal depression and anxiety.
The number is 678-904-1966 or email PHMhelp@mhageorgia.com. When you call or email, leave a message and a mother who has experienced and overcome postpartum depression will respond.
“Being a mom is a lot of work, but it’s worth it,” Dr. Phan says. “If you have support, take it. Take all the help you can get. And, of course, when baby sleeps, sleep. Don’t worry about the laundry, don’t worry about the dishes. You need your rest.”
If you are currently looking for an OB/GYN, Dr. Phan sees patients at two Savannah locations, midtown and southside. For more information, visit our website.