Postpartum depression (PPD) is alarmingly common in women. An estimated 15% of women experience PPD anywhere from a few days to a year after childbirth. Many expectant mothers are more than aware of this reality, and many wonder if there’s anything they can do to prevent it.
When it comes to mental health, it’s hard to identify a specific prevention measure that will ensure you don’t experience depression at some future place and time. However, there are some things that women who experience PPD have had in common. They are:
- Family history of depression or PPD
- Past depression or PPD
- A traumatic life event during pregnancy
- Health issues related to the pregnancy
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Mixed feelings about pregnancy
- No strong support system
Still, some new moms who experience PPD don’t have any of the issues listed above. There are no guarantees when it comes to mental health, but there are some things you can do as a new mom to keep your mind strong and your spirit elevated after giving birth. Here are some things you can do to prevent PPD:
1. Stay Well Rested
The energy it takes to care for a newborn is enough to exhaust anybody. On top of that, your body has just endured the trauma of childbirth, making you already physically drained. Your body desperately needs rest and recovery at this point. Ensuring you stay rested will allow your body to heal more quickly and your energy levels to be higher when you’re awake.
2. Eat Well And Stay Hydrated
Diets high in protein and calcium are recommended during the postpartum period to aid the body in recovery and rebuilding. Be sure you have a diet rich in protein and calcium. Also, dehydration and anxiety have been linked in both pregnant and postpartum women. Drink up!
3. Stay Active
Nothing is worse for your mind than sitting around the house all day playing helicopter mom. Make sure you’re getting outside for fresh air and try to do some light cardio exercises that are not too strenuous. This will keep your cardiovascular system active which is important for maintaining higher energy levels.
4. Get Some Help!
It’s important that you are enlisting the support group around you so you are not too overwhelmed after giving birth. Having a family around to help you can make a world of difference during the first few weeks of parenthood, especially if you are new parents. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! There are even online resources for new moms that can help you educate yourself on PPD.
If you’re experiencing PPD symptoms, know you’re not alone. In this case, it’s even more important that you seek professional help. These feelings are completely normal to have, and there are plenty of professionals out there that are qualified to help you. But it’s important that you take action. That safety of you and your family could depend on it.