As many as 80% of women will have mood swings after childbirth. This is commonly known as the Baby Blues. 10% of women will suffer major Post Natal Depression (PND) in the first year after giving birth.
PND is a feeling of helplessness, fear, an inability to love your child or bond with him or her, sadness and a feeling of isolation. According to the latest research, women who suffer from PND show warning signs during or even before they are pregnant.
Who is more susceptible to PND?
- Women who are very organised and routine based
- Women who possibly have poor nutrition or eating habits
- Women who are not active or social
- Women who are very independent and find it hard to ask for help
- Women who find it hard to talk about their feelings
- Women who have poor sleeping habits
Can PND be prevented?
Science has not pin pointed one exact thing that triggers PND, therefore we cannot say if PND is preventable. You can however make some changes in your day-to-day life to help eliminate your chances or the severity of your case.
11 ways to cope with PND
- Talk about it: Should you suspect you may be experiencing and signs of PND it is advisable to visit your health care provider early. Discuss your feelings with him or her and get help before it escalates.
- Have realistic expectations: Often new mothers have a fantasy about what motherhood is like. The cold hard truth is that motherhood is hard. It is probably the hardest thing you will ever do. Don’t be tough on yourself when you make mistakes, no one is perfect.
- Prepare for parenthood: Read books, discuss with friends and family their experiences and take advice where you can. It is important to remember that every one’s experience is different, so you should not compare your experiences with others.
- Get help: Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help when you need it.
- Keep communicating: Keep the lines of communication open with your partner. Discuss your needs and feelings. This will help to avoid feelings of resentment and isolation.
- Sleep: Catch up with your sleep when the baby is sleeping. New mothers lose a lot of sleep and we often avoid the urge to sleep during the day and opt to do house work or cook dinner. Getting more sleep will do wonders for your mood.
- Self care: New mothers will often not get a lot of time to themselves. Take time for you and run a nice hot bubble bath, go down to the shops for an hour or two by yourself, take your partner out for a nice meal just the two of you or simply go for a walk on your own. Arranging a baby sitter for a few hours a week will help you to re-energise.
- Go with the flow: Not all women cope well with the loss of control and change of routine. A new baby can be overwhelming as plans are not always executed. This can cause some women to feel overwhelmed, which can lead to anxiety/depression.
- Exercise: Exercise is great for the body and mind. Newborns bond better with relaxed mothers. Yoga, meditation and deep breathing can help control stress and nurture a calmer you. You may also engage in various activities as part of your day-to-day routine.
- Mothers Groups: Social interaction is important. Meeting with and talking with like-minded women will help to make you feel apart of something. It is also a place where you can discuss your baby experiences. A reminder that you are not alone.
- Nutrition: Food and water are very important. The right foods will provide your body with energy and fuel. The other great benefit is that a healthy diet will also help with weight loss which is a happy experience one that makes you feel great about yourself.
If you have PND its important to realise that you are not alone. Here at Her Collective we’ve shared a number of stories from mums dealing with PND – its much more common than you think!
For help contact Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA) on 1300 726 306.