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|Is it postpartum depression
or the "baby blues?"
Tips for taking care of yourself
Many new mothers sometimes feel moody and overwhelmed at first, even if they are enjoying their baby.
But, if your "baby blues" last longer than a couple of weeks and you're experiencing more serious symptoms, like hopelessness, feeling empty inside, and loss of pleasure in daily activities, it may be postpartum depression. See your doctor and begin treatment as soon as possible so you can begin to feel better.
Whether it's the baby blues or depression, here are things you can do on your own that can help you feel better.
- Ask for help with household chores and nighttime feedings. If you can, have a friend, family member, or professional support person help you in the home for part of the day.
- Participate in parent coaching, infant massage classes or breastfeeding programs to help you bond with your baby.
- Join a support group for new mothers. For more information, talk to your health professional or visit Postpartum Support International
- Eat well; get regular exercise, such as walking; and get as much sleep as possible.
- Get as much sunlight as possible—keep your shades and curtains open, and get outside as much as you can.
- If you are at risk for PPD, have your first postnatal checkup 3 or 4 weeks after childbirth, rather than the usual 6 weeks.
- Schedule outings and visits with friends and family, and ask them to call you regularly.
- Talk to your husband, partner, family, and friends about how you are feeling.
- Have someone else stay with the baby while you take time out to do something pleasurable on your own or with a friend or your partner.
Is it postpartum depression?
Walking for health
Tracy Flanagan MD, Director of Women’s Health, Northern California, Kaiser Permanente.
Katherine Wisner, MD, Director of Women’s Behavioral HealthCARE program, Western Psychiatric Insitute and Clinic of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
© 1995-2007 Healthwise, Incorporated.
U.S. National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health
Kaiser Permanente health care organization
Page updated June 1, 2009