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Dealing with Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is one of those things that probably doesn’t get talked about nearly as much as it should. The fact of the matter is that many women may not give postpartum depression even a single thought until they start to feel it themselves. Postpartum depression can cause a number of problems for the new mother. At the very least, it takes some of the new mother’s joy away that she should be experiencing with her new baby. Understanding what postpartum depression is, as well as what might put you at risk, can help you to better watch out for it and be ready to deal with it if it arises.

Postpartum depression is more than just feeling a little blue on occasion after pregnancy. Most women will have some “baby blues” from time to time. Postpartum depression, however, involves persistent or severe feelings of helplessness, loss, guild, and anxiety. Your doctor can help you determine whether or not you’re experiencing postpartum depression, so it’s worth talking to her if you think you might.

There are some contributing factors that tend to be found among women who experience postpartum depression. Many women have a personal history or a family history of depression. If you’re having trouble with your relationship with your spouse, that can contribute, as well. A variety of health factors, especially thyroid problems, seem to be involved, too. You can, of course, develop postpartum depression even if you don’t have any of these risk factors, but they’re something to be aware of at the very least.

Postpartum depression is treatable. While treatment may be a little different than it is for women who aren’t breastfeeding, for example, the fact of the matter is that there are many options available to the woman with postpartum depression. Therapy, medications, and even lifestyle changes can help you get your postpartum depression under control, and take back charge of your life.

Posted in After Pregnancy |
Postpartum Surprises

The fact of the matter is that, during your pregnancy, it’s easy to focus on plans for labor and delivery. After all, especially for the new mother, the prospect of childbirth is quite daunting. If much thought is given at all to the postpartum period, it usually is limited to things like making sure the baby’s room is all set, or determining when your maternity leave is going to end. This is unfortunate, as there are quite a few changes that can happen to your and to your situation once your baby comes that just aren’t thought about very often.

Setting aside postpartum depression (after all, many women do take the time to learn at least a little bit about it and how to watch for it), there are common events and feelings you’re likely to have that you may not think about. Here are some of the postpartum conditions that may surprise you if you’re not planning for them:

  • Bleeding. No matter whether you have a cesarean or whether you have a vaginal birth, you’re going to have a significant amount of postpartum bleeding. For the first few days, it’s going to be heavier than a period. From there, it’s going to last another six weeks or so. This bleeding is part of the process of healing up your body after childbirth.
  • Weight loss. You’re only going to lose around half to a third of your pregnancy weight gain when your baby is born. It’s going to take a while to lose the rest. Don’t be in too much of a rush, or you’ll be very frustrated.
  • Weeping. Even if you’re not experiencing postpartum depression, you are probably going to have some ups and downs. Your hormones are going to be all over the place. You might find yourself feeling very happy, yet still crying. You might get upset about truly unimportant things, as well. Expect at least a little weepiness for the first few weeks.
  • Joy. Along with that sadness, you’re going to have moments of pure elation. Enjoy them, but realize that they, too, are fleeting.
  • Sweating. You’re also going to sweat because of those hormone changes. Night sweats are most common. Be prepared to wake up with a soaked pillow and night shirt.
Posted in After Pregnancy |
Weight Loss after Baby

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 |
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