Did you know that a mother’s mental health after pregnancy is important to the baby’s development?
However, mental health is often overlooked with routine follow up not until six weeks after delivery...even though most emotional changes start occurring within hours and days of delivery.
Today we are going to talk about one of the most commonly experienced changes after delivery:
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According the the March of Dimes, 80% of women experience some form of postpartum blues. That is 4 out of 5 women!
As common as this is, most women are unaware of these changes and are blind-sighted and left to feel guilty when these feelings arise.
Although called postpartum BLUES, symptoms are more than just feelings of sadness.
Symptoms include rapidly fluctuating mood, tearfulness, irritability and anxiety. Mothers may have trouble sleeping, eating or making decisions and may feel like they are unfit for motherhood.
Usually symptoms start in the first couple of days after delivery and can last for several days or weeks.
Most women experience these symptoms!
Again - 4 out of 5 women experience postpartum blues. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you are not alone.
Is this normal? YES!
Having a baby is a HUGE life transition.
Not only do you have physical changes of labor, delivery and transition to postpartum, there are immediate hormonal changes of decrease in estrogen and progesterone which decrease the amount of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain that help with emotions). There are also social changes including taking on new roles.
All mothers go through these changes.
20% of women can experience more severe or longer symptoms that are known as perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMAD) which includes postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, OCD and postpartum psychosis.
If you have feelings of harming yourself or your child please seek immediate medical attention.
Do you have:
If so, you are at a higher risk of postpartum blues.
Having postpartum blues places a mother at 4-10 times more likely to develop postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety.
That is why being proactive and aware of your mental wellness can normalize the postpartum blues and help prevent or lessen the progression of symptoms.
Our social norm is full of myths of motherhood. That motherhood is natural. That motherhood is easy. That motherhood will come with time. That motherhood is all rosy and full of love. This causes moms to feel guilt or embarrassment if they feel differently.
The reality is that motherhood is more nuanced.
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Treat your mental health the same as your physical health!