ILLUSTRATION: ERIN MCPHEE

In the recent past Baby Blues and Post Partum Depression (PPD) has become one of the most talked about topics when it comes to maternity and child care. These phenomena are still neglected in the subcontinent and a lot of new mothers are unaware of these conditions. Awareness regarding Baby Blues and Post Partum Depression is extremely important not only for a new mom, but also for people around her who have a direct impact on her life.

Difference between Baby Blues and Post Partum Depression

Often, baby blues and Post Partum Depression are used interchangeably, which is wrong. The two are often related but are totally different conditions. Baby blues kick in soon after child birth and settles down by around two weeks post partum.

Symptoms of baby blues

It is mostly dominated by mood swings, feeling low for unexplained reasons, physical fatigue, emotional fragility and at times detachment from the baby. However, PPD usually starts kicking in after two to three months of delivery, but can occur at any point of time after child birth.

Symptoms of Post Partum Depression

The symptoms of Post Partum Depression include episodes of unexplained depression and anxiety, feelings of worthlessness, detachment from baby and spouse, and sometimes even thoughts of harming the baby or committing suicide. A person suffering from PPD should seek professional intervention if symptoms do not subside within six weeks or else it can lead to prolonged chronic depression.

Coping up with Baby Blues and PPD

While baby blues settle on its own, PPD can be difficult to go through. However, simple lifestyle changes and strategies and support from family, especially spouse can help the mother cope up with PPD. Some of the strategies that can be used to cope up with PPD include:

Skipping House Chores:

Giving birth to a child and adjust to the changes in one’s life that are triggered with the arrival of the baby can be extremely exhausting. It is advisable that the mother avoids household chores for a little while and makes herself feel relaxed. Use this time to focus on yourself and the baby.

Exercise:

A heavy fitness regime is still not recommended, but a lot of post natal exercises involve stretching muscles and can help improving the blood circulation in the body. A 30 minute walk can be equally relaxing.

Meditation:

 Postnatal yoga and meditation not only helps in making an exhausted body rejuvenate and energized, but also makes you mentally calm and self aware.

Eating and Sleeping Patterns:

Make sure you eat well and eat healthy. A new mother’s body takes time to recover and taking care of new born requires energy. Moreover, rest as much as possible and try to catch up on your sleep whenever possible. Do not be shy to ask someone help to look after your baby while you take a nap.

Bond with the baby and your partner:

Bonding with the baby is extremely healthy for both the mother and the child. It not only makes the mother realize her worth and feel important and loved, but also makes the child feel secure.

Post Partum Depression, if ignored can lead to deteriorating relationships between spouses. It is recommended that you take out some time for your spouse whenever possible.

What to do when you find you are suffering from PPD?

If you feel you are suffering from any of the symptoms and if they persist for over six weeks, get yourself checked for Post Partum Depression or talk to your gynecologist about it. If you feel someone close to you is suffering from PPD or baby blues offer support and help them cope up. Support by friends and family can help speed up the recovery process and helps the patient to adjust to the new routine.

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