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Baby blues and postpartum depression

Did you know that almost 80% of new moms have symptoms of transient depression around the third day after delivery? More rarely, these symptoms persist and turn into depression. Learn more about baby blues and postpartum depression to better cope.

Mother looking at her baby boy in a crib

Baby blues and postpartum depression

BABY BLUES OR “THIRD DAY SYNDROME”

Pregnancy and childbirth are unique experiences, but they generate many upheavals. In the first days after giving birth, the mother has to adapt to the arrival of baby and many other elements. Around the third day (sometimes before and up to 10-14 days later), a large number of women experience symptoms suggestive of emotional disturbance such as:

mood swings, such as alternating laughter and tears;

  • irritability;
  • impatience;
  • insomnia;

A feeling of vulnerability or maternal incompetence. 

These manifestations of hyperemotivity are all that is most normal and there is no need to worry. They would be caused by the hormonal changes and fatigue that follow the delivery. The intensity and duration of symptoms vary from one mother to another; they can for example last a single day, or a few days. Symptoms usually go away in less than two weeks.

TO MAKE THE BABY BLUES SEASON EASIER

  • Tips for mom:
  • Talk about your emotions to your spouse, family, friend or medical staff.
  • Ask for help with your care or the baby’s care. Get help in any way you can.
  • Sleep whenever you have the opportunity.
  • Limit the number of visitors if it depletes you or adds additional stress.
  • Enjoy skin-to-skin contact with your baby.
  • Be kind and tolerant to yourself. Do not aim for perfection.

Surround yourself with one or more people with whom you feel confident and with whom you can be yourself. For example, ask your best friend to be with you in these difficult times.

Tips for the spouse, family or friends:

If you do not recognize Mom temporarily, do not worry. The symptoms of baby blues are usually transient. Take them with a grain of salt.

  • Show yourself gentle, patient and comforting.
  • Praise the mother; do positive reinforcement.
  • Do not tell him what to do and let him do his own experiments.
  • Make her laugh. Humor will put things in perspective.
  • Offer him your help and support.

POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION: A MORE SERIOUS EVIL

Unlike baby blues, which are often mild and transient, postpartum depression is a more serious and often longer-lasting medical condition. It can harm both mother and baby; that’s why you have to take it seriously. Between 10% and 20% of women will experience more severe symptoms in the year following delivery. Unfortunately, postpartum depression can last several months and sometimes more than a year. Women who have it may be reluctant to seek help because they feel shame, a sense of failure or guilt. On the other hand, some of them mistakenly believe that the symptoms they feel are normal and can be explained by the fatigue caused by the newborn’s arrival.

If you have postpartum depression, it is important that you get a diagnosis and that a treatment approach be taken immediately. Here are some examples of symptoms that may suggest such a condition:

  • A feeling of exhaustion or permanent discouragement;
  • extreme anxiety
  • sleep difficulties;
  • constant crying;
  • a feeling of worthlessness or excessive guilt;
  • significant changes to your appetite
  • a lack of interest in the usual activities;
  • an inability to care for the baby or oneself;
  • physical symptoms: headache, numbness, chest pain, hyperventilation, etc.
  • irritability or aggression;
  • black or suicidal thoughts.

These symptoms usually occur at least one month after childbirth and during the first year. If you notice one or more of these symptoms, do not delay in consulting a doctor for your property and that of your child.

TREATMENTS FOR POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION

There are several ways to counteract postpartum depression. Psychological support, support networks and the use of medications (eg anti-depressants) are all measures that can be put in place to help women with this disease. Close medical follow-up is helpful and almost always necessary.

If your doctor prescribes medication, talk to your pharmacist. They can listen to you and learn about all aspects of the medication, including benefits, time to action, side effects, and ways to fix it.

Beyond the medical care, taking care of yourself and adopting a healthy lifestyle will help you out of this difficult period. Here are some tips in this regard:

Take the time to eat well.

  • Do not neglect your personal care: bathing, showering, dressing, putting on makeup or styling helps to maintain morale and self-esteem.
  • Make outings to relax and change your ideas, with or without the baby.
  • Learn to delegate: baby care, household chores, day-to-day management, etc.
  • Exercise regularly opt for activities that you really like.
  • Accept that everything is not perfect.
  • Go get a massage or learn relaxation techniques.

If you suffer from postpartum depression, do not judge yourself. It is a disease like many others. On the contrary, trust yourself that you will be able to find the resources to help you get through it, and ask for help from those around you. Becoming a parent is an enriching and fulfilling experience, but one that can be more difficult for some. Recognizing the symptoms of postpartum depression can detect it quickly and take action to remedy the situation. In this way, you can finally enjoy the many joys that the maternity reserves you.

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