Treating Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

What is postpartum depression and anxiety?

 

We know that 1 in 9 women will experience postpartum depression, it is much more common than many realize. We also know that approximately 6% of pregnant women and 10% of postpartum women develop anxiety. Sometimes they experience anxiety alone, and sometimes they experience it in addition to depression (postpartum international). Some of the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety are:

Anxious, Sad, or “Empty” Feeling

Hopelessness

Feelings of Guilt or Worthlessness 

Fatigue

Irritability, Anger or Restlessness

Loss of Interest in Hobbies or Activities

Feeling Disconnected from your baby

Worrying Constantly

Withdrawing from loved ones 

Feelings of Self Harm or Suicide

With both PPD and PPA, the signs and symptoms will vary by person. You do not have to be feeling all of these things, to have postpartum depression or anxiety. If anyone of these feelings is affecting your quality of life, please reach out for help. 

Dads and PPD

 

Did you know that dads can experience postpartum depression and anxiety too? Anywhere between 2-25% of dads have reported depression in the first year of their child’s life. This rate can increase by up to 50% when the mother is also experiencing PPD. You can read more about how Postpartum Mood Disorders can affect dads here 

 

Treating PPD/PPA

 

The really good news is that PPD and PPA are temporary and can be easily treatable with professional help. Many of the medications used to treat these mood disorders are compatible with breastfeeding. Therapy can also be a very useful tool in treating PPD and PPA. If you feel that you are experiencing any of these symptoms and they are affecting your quality of life, please reach out for help. Talk to your primary care Dr. or OBGYN and they can connect you with resources in your area. If you do not feel supported by your providers, Postpartum International is a very helpful resource. They can connect you with local resources (https://www.postpartum.net/get-help/locations/united-states/).  They have online support groups (https://www.postpartum.net/get-help/psi-online-support-meetings/), and they have a helpline https://www.postpartum.net/get-help/psi-helpline-english-and-spanish/).

If you need immediate support or in case of an emergency, there is help available.

 

 

  • National Crisis Text Line

 

Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the USA

 

  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline and Website

 

1-800-273-8255
www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org 
Call for yourself or someone you care about; free and confidential; network of more than 140 crisis centers nationwide; available 24/7

 

What else can you do?

 

Along with getting professional help, there are many things you can do to help with the symptoms of PPD and PPA. Some things that many have found to be helpful 

 

A warm bath or shower

Taking a Walk/Exercise

Sunshine and Fresh Air

Yoga and Meditation

Grounding (https://drsarahallen.com/7-ways-to-calm/)

Massage 

Essential Oils (please check with your dr and a certified aroma therapist before using)

Supplements (please check with you Dr. before adding any supplements to your diet) 

Deep Breathing Exercising

Writing Down Feelings/Journaling

Repeating Positive Affirmations

Taking A Nap 

These are all just suggestions. Some may work for you, some may not, and you may have found something, not on this list that works for you.

 

 

Please know that you do not have to suffer alone. Talk to your Dr. or Lactation Professional for local resources. If you have no one to talk to, please email our lactation team at [email protected] for assistance in finding a local provider.

Reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.