How to overcome postpartum depression is a highly searched term, and for good reason. Having a baby is meant to be one of the most magical and emotional times in your life. But for a large number of women, it often results in “baby blues,” a less severe form of postpartum depression.
While up to 80% of women might experience these “baby blues” after their little one comes home, between 10 and 20% will develop clinical postpartum depression – a much more severe condition.
5 Strategies to Overcome Postpartum Depression
If you find yourself struggling with symptoms of postpartum depression, here are a few strategies that may help you overcome postpartum depression.
1. Look Into Postpartum Depression
While there is no definitive reason why some women deal with childbirth better than others, there are a few variables that can determine who might be at risk for postpartum depression.
During pregnancy, you often undergo dramatic physical and hormonal changes. After you give birth, as your hormones slowly return to normal, you will experience several changes in everything from your blood pressure to your immune system. These changes can trigger postpartum depression.
The stress of caring for a newborn can also be a trigger, especially if you don’t have any support, and you’re braving this new challenge as a single mom. While these potential triggers won’t tell you whether you’re going to develop postpartum depression, it can give you an idea of whether you’re at risk.
2. Maintain a Healthy Diet
We get it. It’s challenging to eat healthy when you’ve got a little one who wants your attention all day and all night. If you don’t have family members dropping off casseroles and cooking for you, you’re probably subsisting on whatever you can throw together in a couple of minutes while the baby is asleep.
Studies have shown that specific nutrient deficiencies may raise the risk of triggering postpartum depression. If you’re not getting enough vitamin D, B vitamins, or other trace minerals, you might be at higher risk.
Sticking to a healthy diet can help to improve your mental health by ensuring you’re getting enough of these necessary nutrients. They’re essential for supporting you and your little one, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Taking care of your own health is key when you are trying to overcome postpartum depression.
3. Enjoy Some Exercise Every Day
You’re probably exhausted, both from the process of giving birth and from taking care of your little one. Once you’ve been cleared to start exercising again, though, you should try to take the time to incorporate it into your daily routine.
Choose an exercise regime that works for you. Even something as simple as getting out for a walk can help improve your mental health and reduce the chance of developing postpartum depression.
If you have the opportunity for some me-time, consider something a little more high energy like kayaking. You’ll burn a ton of calories and get a little bit of time to yourself with this low-impact exercise. Just make sure you know what you’re doing before you get in the water.
4. Sleep When They Sleep
In the early days, the chances are high that you’ll be getting up every couple of hours to feed and change your little one. This is normal, but it can leave you feeling spread a bit thin.
Remember the adage that tells you to sleep when they sleep? It might sound like an old wives’ tale, but it can be a valuable tool to help you get enough shuteye.
Multiple studies have found that sleep disturbances like those related to parenthood were more likely to cause postpartum depression.
While you’re home with your little one, make it a point to sleep when they sleep. You might end up keeping some strange hours for a month or two, but you’ll be better off in the long run.
5. Ask for Help
While diet, exercise, and sleep are all useful tools to help you deal with the symptoms of postpartum depression, they are no replacement for professional treatment.
If your symptoms don’t fade within a couple of weeks, get worse, or make it hard to care for your little one, talk to your health care provider. Don’t be ashamed of asking for help.
Though it’s triggered by pregnancy, this is still a mental health concern, and there are professionals at your disposal to help you deal with them.
Overcome Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression affects one out of every seven women. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of this condition, don’t be ashamed to seek help. It’s more common than you might think.