Many women suffer from postpartum depression. This guide will help you decide which postpartum depression treatment is right for you.
It’s important to understand that the baby blues and postpartum depression start out with the same types of symptoms. You may feel exhausted, have mood swings, and experience insomnia. These feelings are all common right after delivery, and they don’t necessarily signify a larger problem. Some more serious symptoms that may require postpartum depression treatment include loss of interest in things you enjoy, changes in appetite, or feeling excessively guilty. These feelings may dominate your thoughts, and they don’t go away on their own like the baby blues. If you’re experiencing more severe symptoms, such as a lack of interest in caring for your newborn or thoughts or harming yourself or your baby, please talk with your doctor right away about which treatment options are best for you.
1) Support from Friends and Family
If your symptoms are mild, you can try a few things at home to help ease your suffering. First, make sure you’re getting plenty of rest. That can often be difficult to do with a new baby in the house, but if you aren’t well rested, the exhaustion that accompanies depression becomes more severe. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It can be difficult to admit that you can’t do it all on your own, but you shouldn’t be ashamed to ask friends and family to lend a hand. Many times they are eager to get their hands on the new baby and help out. You may also look for a support group to join, where you might have an easier time relating to other new moms who are going through your same struggles.
2) Time for Yourself
It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the needs of the new baby, but it’s important that you don’t neglect your own needs. Simple things like making sure to eat regularly can have an impact on how you feel about yourself. Studies have also shown that getting plenty of sunshine can improve your mood. Exercising is also a mood elevator. Going out for a walk is a great way to get out of the house and take a break from everything when you’re feeling overwhelmed. You could also set up a time every day to have someone else take over care of the baby while you take a relaxing bath or have quiet time to yourself.
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3) Professional Counseling
Finding a good family therapist or counselor is a great option for dealing with postpartum depression. Many people turn to counseling as a first option because of concerns over taking any kind of medication while breastfeeding. A professional can offer different types of therapy for dealing with your symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help you learn how to think about your body and your new baby in a positive way. Therapists can also help you have a healthier outlook towards your relationships and your new role, and they can provide you with effective tools to use when you feel like you can’t cope. It may also help to have your partner attend some of these sessions with you. Together, you can learn strategies that will help you work through your feelings about motherhood and how to support each other if your relationship is starting to suffer.
4) Hormone Therapy
Giving birth causes a rapid drop in the amount of estrogen in your body, which contributes to your mood changes. Estrogen replacement therapy may help counteract this drop, easing some of your depression symptoms. This type of therapy may involve taking a pill or applying a transdermal patch directly to your skin. It can be administered alone, although it is usually given in combination with an antidepressant. Estrogen replacement therapy is not without its risks. Some reports indicate an increased risk for cancer. While estrogen replacement therapy may be effective, only a limited amount of research is available concerning its effectiveness and side effects. In some cases, a woman’s depression is related to an underactive thyroid. In these cases, your doctor may prescribe an artificial thyroid hormone, such as Synthroid. This will stimulate your thyroid and help regulate your hormones, helping you have more energy and feel better overall.
5) Using Antidepressants
If your symptoms are severe, or you have a history of depression, your doctor may decide to put you on an antidepressant. This type of treatment is often used in combination with counseling or hormone replacement. Most antidepressants take a few weeks before you notice any considerable changes. It’s also important to know that many medications are transferred to your baby though breast milk, so if you are breastfeeding, you should discuss which antidepressants will be safe for you to take. Some types of medications are considered to be safer since such a small amount passes to the baby. While breastfeeding is beneficial to your baby, so is having a healthy mom. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of continuing to breastfeed while on antidepressants if doing so could interfere with your health or that of your infant.