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   Archive for the ‘After Pregnancy’ Category
What Can Cause Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression can be a troubling condition. A woman who experiences postpartum depression may feel, in addition to her depression, a sense of guilt that she is not bubbling over with joy about her new baby. In addition, postpartum depression can interfere with a woman’s relationship with her new baby and her responsibilities as a new mother.

Depression can be caused by a variety of factors. For the woman who has just had a baby, postpartum depression may be a special concern. In many cases, it isn’t known what causes depression. Some research suggests that postpartum depression may be related to the shifting levels of estrogen and progesterone that takes place in a woman’s body during and immediately after pregnancy. Other research suggests that the hormones produced by the thyroid also drop after birth, and that these drops can also cause the symptoms of depression. However, it may not always be possible to attach a single, simple cause to postpartum depression.

There are certain risk factors that can increase the chance that a woman will experience postpartum depression. These may include:

  • A family history of depression or mental illness. If a woman is prone to depression genetically, she is particularly vulnerable after giving birth.
  • Situational factors. Sometimes, depression is brought on by things going on around a person. If a new mother has little support from family and friends, or if she is going through financial or marital difficulties, she may be more likely to experience postpartum depression.
  • Youth. Young mothers are more likely to experience postpartum depression.
  • Stress. The general stress of the responsibilities of being a new mother can sometimes be overwhelming, not to mention the sheer physical stress that your body has bee through during the pregnancy and delivery process.
  • A lack of sleep or rest. Some research suggests that a lack of sleep, or broken sleep patterns that often accompany having a small baby in the house, can contribute to postpartum depression.

The good news is that postpartum depression is treatable. The most successful treatment of postpartum depression will likely include a combination of therapy, antidepressant medications, and a social support structure. Together, these treatments will exponentially increase a woman’s chances of dealing with postpartum depression successfully.

Posted in After Pregnancy |
Losing the Dreaded Baby Weight

Many women struggle with losing the “baby weight.” It’s just a simple fact. The truth is that having a baby changes your body in a number of ways, and not all of them are entirely good. (That doesn’t mean they aren’t worth it, of course.) Only about 15 pounds of the weight you gain during pregnancy will be lost during delivery. That leaves anywhere from 10 to 20 more pounds to lose, assuming you gain the average of 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy.

Still, there are some relatively basic things you can do after baby to lose weight. In fact, there are three steps you can follow that, while they don’t guarantee weight loss, can put you on the fast track to getting your body back in shape after baby. Here they are:

  • Walk. You don’t have to do an aerobics class or run marathons. Simply walk. Walk at least 30 minutes a day. This will keep your metabolism going, and burn away some excess calories.
  • Limit TV. Research shows that people who watch two hours or more of TV a day tend to be bigger than people that don’t. Limit the amount of TV you view in a day, and you’ll be surprised how much more active you are.
  • Avoid saturated fats and trans fats. You can’t (and shouldn’t) avoid fats altogether, however you should limit your intake of saturated fats. You can also eliminate trans fats from your diet altogether.

These steps don’t guarantee weight loss after baby. You can’t do these things but still take in 3,000 calories a day and expect to lose the baby weight. Over the long haul, if you’re going to lose all of that weight after baby, you’re going to need to make some other changes, both in terms of diet and exercise. However, if you start with these basic principles and refuse to compromise on them in any way, you’ll start out on the fast track to postpartum weight loss, and you’ll have your body in shape before you know it.

Posted in After Pregnancy |
How do You Prevent Stretch Marks?

When you ask this question, you need to realize one fact before you go any farther: for some pregnancies, you simply cannot prevent stretch marks. Around 50% of women get stretch marks due to pregnancy, no matter what they do to try to prevent them.

Just because stretch marks are likely doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attempt to keep them from appearing, however. While you might not be able to keep them away altogether, there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of getting stretch marks, or at least their severity:

  • Understand what causes them. Stretch marks come from – you guessed it – your skin stretching beyond its normal boundaries in a relatively quick period of time.
  • Control the pace of your pregnancy weight gain. If possible, try to spread your weight gain out over your pregnancy. Obviously, you can’t control how fast your baby grows, but you can eat a healthy diet and talk with your doctor about the pace of your weight gain.
  • Some herbal remedies can help. There are herbal mixtures made up of things like cocoa butter, Vitamin E, and chamomile that may, in some cases, help prevent your stretch marks. These remedies can, even if they don’t prevent stretch marks, help your body recover from them, and help them to be less visible to the eye over time.
  • Moisturize. There are even moisturizing creams that are aimed specifically at helping with stretch marks. Often, they use some of the same herbal remedies mentioned above.
  • Eat a balanced and healthy diet. This will help to keep your skin strong and healthy. Healthy skin is better able to stretch, expand, and contract. It won’t prevent them altogether, but it might help reduce the severity of your stretch marks.

None of these steps are guaranteed to keep you from getting stretch marks. Often, they just come with the territory of being pregnant. However, if you follow these tips, you do reduce your risk, and you will probably find that your own stretch marks aren’t nearly as severe as they might have otherwise wound up being.

Posted in After Pregnancy |
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