Research shows that over 80% of women in the United States experience the “baby blues.” Many women suffer from the severe form of baby blues known as postpartum depression. Approximately 20% of new mothers experience postpartum depression.
Recent studies highlight that one in seven women can experience postpartum depression for 12 months after giving birth. There are over four million births every year in the U.S, which means around 600,000 women are diagnosed with this condition.
Postpartum is the period after a mother gives birth to her baby. It is a mental health condition characterized by intense irritability, insomnia, lack of bonding with the newly born child, and appetite loss. The condition can last for several months if untreated.
In this post, we will talk about ten unique ways to overcome or treat postpartum depression. Read on!
1. Eat a Balanced Diet
Consuming a well-balanced diet is beneficial for everyone, including women who suffer from postpartum depression. Although it does not treat the condition directly, eating healthy food can reduce cortisol levels and increase dopamine levels.
Bear in mind that dopamine is a neurotransmitter that decreases depressive symptoms and enhances your mood. It is essential to consume whole foods, including veggies, fruits, whole grains, and proteins sourced from full-fat dairy, organic tofu, nuts, seeds, seafood, fish, chicken, and eggs.
2. Do Regular Exercise
Exercise is an excellent way to deal with postpartum depression. It helps improve blood circulation and increase the supply of oxygen to the brain. As a result, the brain releases mood-enhancing hormones and neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins.
It is essential to avoid high-intensity workouts during the postpartum period. Instead, focus on simple exercises like mild stretching at home and 10-30 walk in the morning. Other useful activities include curl-ups, shoulder lifts, head lifts, kneeling pelvic tilt, and deep breathing with belly contraction.
3. Get Proper Sleep
Research studies show that women who do not get proper sleep can experience intense depressive symptoms. Approximately 76% of women suffer from lack of sleep and insomnia in the postpartum period.
Managing sleep problems can help decrease the risk of postpartum depression. It is crucial to create and maintain the best sleep environment by practicing good sleep hygiene. You can take turns with your husband and seek help from other family members. Remember, you need at least eight hours of sleep at night to keep your brain calm and relaxed.
4. Consume Fish Oils
Fish oil is a natural source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and useful for pregnancy and nursing. Experts recommend consuming 300-600 mg of DHA per day for lactating women. Some studies show that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil can help treat mild to moderate depression.
Omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in building cell membranes in the brain. They also have an excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect, promoting healthier brain cells and reducing depressive symptoms like anxiety, nervousness, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
5. Perform Yoga
According to the American Psychological Association, yoga reduces muscle tension, inflammation, strains and relieve stress. It also helps sharpen focus and concentration. Yoga enhances blood flow to your brain and helps release mood-enhancing hormones to relieve stress and anxiety. If you want to beat postpartum blues quickly, practice the following yoga poses.
- Cat or Cow Stretch
- Legs up the wall pose
- Cow-face sitting pose
- Forearm plank
- Dolphin Pose
Researchers found that practicing yoga during the postpartum period can reduce cortisol levels in the brain. These poses can calm your mind, increase energy, and maintain overall health and wellbeing.
6. Avoid Isolation
According to the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, it is essential to avoid isolation and share feelings with your significant other to release stress and shift your mood. Studies show that new mothers must seek help from experienced mothers to reduce depression.
It is because experienced mothers had previous suffered from postpartum depression and can give you useful advice on how to cope with it. Remember, if you isolate yourself from your family and friends, you will experience more stress and anxiety episodes.
You can find groups on social media that offer emotional support to new moms suffering from postpartum depression. Participating in mindfulness sessions is riskier due to the covid-19 pandemic. Thanks to advanced technology and telehealth, you can avoid isolation by talking to an expert via videoconferencing tools like Skype, Zoom, etc.
7. Psychotherapy Sessions
Psychotherapy is one of the best ways to overcome postpartum depression. Also known as talk therapy or mental health counseling, psychotherapy allows you to discuss your feeling and concerns with a psychotherapist. The therapist will help you create manageable goals and learn to tackle negative episodes of depression effectively and quickly.
You don’t need to make any special preparations for the therapy session. Your therapist will ask you several questions to help you understand your life situations. Be honest with your psychotherapist so that he or she can create a more personalized plan for you.
The counselor will help you connect well with your baby and teach you how to act as a mother. Likewise, the therapist will change your feelings, beliefs, and perceptions. The aim is to bring more positive feelings and adopt new changes in life.
8. Emotional Attachment with Baby
Research shows that 40% of children do not receive emotional bonding from their mothers. That’s why they experience behavioral, attitude, and educational problems. Emotional attachment with your baby will soothe your mind and tranquil your heart.
Close contact with your young one enables the brain to release the cuddle hormone known as oxytocin, which improves your food and makes you feel happier. Likewise, skin-to-skin contact, baby massage, smiling, singing leads to higher levels of oxytocin. Not only can emotional attachment with your baby reduce postpartum depression, but it can also lead to the baby’s healthy development and growth.
9. Antidepressant Medications
If you have severe postpartum depression, you can take antidepressants to ease depressive symptoms. Meet your doctor or visit a reputable psychiatrist for the treatment. Your doctor will prescribe you certain medications that can help you treat your condition.
Research shows that Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are effective in treating postpartum depression. If you experience any side effects, stop the medication, and consult your doctor again.
10.Build a support network
It is crucial to have positive social interactions with your loved ones to help ease symptoms of depression. Building a support network requires you to stay engaged with your family members and friends. Because postpartum depression can affect your life in many ways, you can ease stress and deal with your life difficulties by seeking emotional support from your close ones.
Postpartum depression is a common condition among women and can lead to stress and anxiety. Often, it is easy to manage and treat postpartum depression by taking adequate actions on time. You can overcome stressful events in your life by implementing the tips and tricks mentioned in this article. Good Luck!