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Postpartum Depression & Anxiety: More Common Than You Know

Delivery of your newborn is one of the greatest events in your life, bringing on a flood of emotions. These emotions can be sadness or anger and you may not know if it’s normal to feel that way. Do you feel sad when you should be happy that you just had a baby? Do you question if the anxiety you are experiencing is more than new mom jitters? You may have postpartum depression or anxiety. Understanding the truth about postpartum depression and anxiety can seem confusing.  If you are struggling with any symptoms, please call our office to better understand the signs, symptoms, and treatments available. Our goal is to identify what is happening and help you understand that you are not alone. We are here to help you feel like yourself again.

You are not alone:

  • Depression symptoms affect 70% of postpartum women
    • Major Depression 10-16%
  • Anxiety symptoms affect 22-25% of postpartum women
  • Non-childbearing new parents can have the same symptoms
  • If you have experienced depression or anxiety in the past there is a higher chance for postpartum depression

Postpartum Depression Symptoms:

  • Sadness
  • Appetite and sleep disturbance
  • Poor concentration
  • Irritability
  • Feeling overwhelmed, hopeless or helpless
  • Lack of feelings towards the baby

Postpartum Anxiety Symptoms:

  • Excessive worry
  • Agitation/Irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping/relaxing
  • Comparing yourself to other mothers that look like “supermom”

Treatment:

The most effective treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy (visiting with a trained therapist) and medication.  This does not mean that medication is required.  Most medications have been determined to be safe in pregnancy and lactation; a select number that have been deemed the safest because there is more information about them.

It is also important to communicate freely with your doctor, partner, family and friends, it is ok to let them know how you are feeling. Practicing self-care is important during these times as well.

Ways to practice self-care:

  • Sleep – Try to get 4-6 hours uninterrupted sleep, if possible, have a support person help with night feedings, nap when baby naps, reduce or eliminate caffeine use, limit time on electronic devices – iPad, phones etc.
  • Hydration – Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day
  • Diet – Eat small meals, always with a protein
  • Exercise – Try to get 30 min activity a day
  • Pamper Yourself – Get a pedicure, listen to music, read a book, massage, bubble bath

Postpartum depression and anxiety can affect you in unexpected ways. We are here to help you and to remind you that you are not alone. Call our experienced registered nurses in triage who can assess whether or not an appointment is needed. Don’t be afraid to make an appointment so we can walk you through the treatment options and help you decide which is the best fit for you.

Written by: Dr. Jonathon D. Jaqua, DO

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