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Risk of Postpartum Depression

How to Reduce the Risk of Postpartum Depression

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Having a baby is one of the most exciting times in a woman’s life, but when all is said and done, some mothers are left feeling less than joyous. Postpartum depression is a real problem for millions of new moms; it is not something that is merely imagined.

For those who are expecting a baby or who have just given birth, understanding how to reduce the risk of postpartum depression becomes extremely important. Regardless of how excited you are to become a parent, the reality of the situation is that you should begin practicing preventative maintenance now.

What Is Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression presents side effects that are similar to other types of depression, but it differs in two major ways: it only happens to some mothers, and it only takes place after a pregnancy.

It happens due to a peculiar combination of conditions, ranging from natural hormonal fluctuations to psychological and environmental adjustments to exhaustion. Although this mental and emotional imbalance can get out of hand at times, there are several treatment options available. However, your best bet is to find ways to reduce your risk while you still have a hold on your sanity.

Reducing Your Risk

All of this might freak you out, but luckily there are several things you can do to reduce your risk of developing postpartum depression. After all, having a baby is a special time in your life, not one that must necessarily be fraught with sadness. 

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help: You might want to do everything on your own, but that road will lead you right toward experiencing postpartum depression. Instead, ask for some help so that you can get enough rest. Request that someone help you prepare food so that you can remain healthy and allow friends or family to watch the baby so that you can get some exercise and fresh air.
  • Practice self-care: Self-care may seem very tough when you have a newborn, but it remains exceptionally important. Even when you’re tired, taking a walk outside in the daylight and fresh air, try to eat nutritious foods when you can, instead of relying only on comfort foods, and even if all you can find is five minutes at a time to do something just for yourself, take that time. You need it.
  • Say no to drugs and alcohol: You may want to take a load off after all the hard work you have done but reaching for a cigarette or a stiff drink will do nothing to benefit you in the long run. Unless you are prescribed something by your doctor, try to keep things as natural as possible. Your body already has enough to deal with from recently giving birth.
  • Find out if you are high risk: Those who had depression before or during pregnancy are considered to be at a higher risk for developing postpartum depression. Talk to your doctor to find out. This may help you counter the effects as soon as the first symptoms start to show. That said, it’s important to note that it is possible to experience postpartum depression regardless of whether or not there were “warning signs”. Don’t discount it altogether just because you haven’t checked off all the risk boxes. Take your physical and mental health seriously and remember that taking care of yourself means being prepared to take care of your baby, too.