The weeks and months after a baby is born can be very difficult for the mother. Significant changes in hormone levels, sleep patterns and nutrition all impact our emotions, energy levels and abilities to concentrate. While it is normal for any new mother to have a rollercoaster of emotions after the birth of her little one, lingering negative feelings that do not lift after a few weeks could be a sign of Post Partum Depression (PPD).
Feeling down after a baby is born is perfectly normal, and between 50 and 80 percent of new mothers experience what is referred to as the baby blues. This syndrome usually appears shortly after birth and can last a few weeks. However, if these feelings persist or occur months after the baby is born it may be an indication of postpartum depression which occurs in roughly 10 to 20 percent of mothers.
Below are a few of the symptoms of PPD:
Trouble sleeping, or wanting to sleep constantly
Sadness or weepiness for no reason
Moodiness and irritability
Loss of appetite
Negative thoughts towards baby
There are steps that pregnant moms can take to prevent or alleviate post partum depression such as ensuring they have a support network of friends and family around them. Often new mothers will close themselves off from the world; feeling like they need to dedicate all their time to the baby, which only serves to make them feel cut off and trapped. Having support will help new mothers feel like they are connected to the world.
Also extremely important is proper nutrition before and after a baby is born. Low iron levels can contribute to fatigue and affect memory and concentration, while high levels of copper in the bloodstream after giving birth have also been a factor in PPD. Taking prenatal vitamins and additional supplements if necessary should be considered and discussed with a healthcare professional.
Having time to themselves is extremely important to new mothers, so if you are having a baby make sure you plan for this. Even if it is an hour a few times a week so you can go for a walk, read a book or meet a friend for coffee it will help immensely. And no mother should ever feel guilty about what she is feeling; it is just something that happens to new mothers.