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Postpartum Depression

Posted Sept. 04, 2013, at 11:04 a.m.
Last modified Sept. 28, 2013, at 1:51 p.m.

Becoming a parent is a joyous event accompanied with many changes. Since hormone levels fluctuate drastically in every woman after delivery, it is clear to see why approximately 80% experience what is known as the baby blues. For most women symptoms go away as she is adjusting to motherhood, but about 15% are diagnosed with a more serious condition called postpartum depression (PPD). Experts believe this number could be even higher because PPD is often under-diagnosed. So what’s the difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression?

The baby blues last for about two weeks and include a number of symptoms such as feeling tired, angry, sad or anxious. Overall, you may not feel like your usual self. These feelings are common and shouldn’t be a cause for alarm. However, if these symptoms last longer than two weeks, include other symptoms, and prohibit you from functioning normally, talk to your Maine Families Parent Educator, partner, friend or doctor. These can be indicators of postpartum depression.

Being diagnosed with postpartum depression is not the end of the world, but it can feel very isolating. You may wonder why you feel like you do, instead of being happy and able to enjoy your baby. It is important to know that PPD is not your fault and there are different options available for treatment. Taking care of yourself is essential. Here are some suggestions:

1. Try your best to get some exercise every day, even if it’s just walking around your home.

2. Eat regularly. Keep yourself well nourished with healthy food choices.

3. Sleep when your baby sleeps.

4. Schedule some time for yourself and do something enjoyable.

5. Ask others for help and let them help when they offer. Family members and friends are willing to do many things to help like grocery shopping, vacuuming, doing laundry or cooking.

6. Letting go of your “shoulds” can be a relief. Example: “I should be cleaning the bathroom right now instead of resting.” The bathroom will still be there to clean later.

7. REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There are support people and groups. Look for resources to read and/or make an appointment with a professional counselor.

If you or someone you know is pregnant or has a newborn at home and would like information about the Teen and Young Parent Program or Maine Families home visiting program, please call 207.594.1980 or toll-free at 877.972.5804. Enrollment takes place prenatally and up until the baby turns three months old. Parent Education Professionals use the Parents as Teachers(TM) curriculum to provide enrolled families with research based, up-to-date information such as what to expect when your baby arrives, an assessment to help moms talk about their feelings, establishing routines, eating healthy, the importance of talking to your baby and much more. The Teen and Young Parent Program and Maine Families of Knox, Lincoln, and Sagadahoc counties are proud to be affiliated with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. In complying with the letter and spirit of applicable laws and in pursuing its own goals of diversity, the University of Maine System shall not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation—including transgender status and gender expression—national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, or veterans’ status in employment, education, and all other areas of the University. The University provides reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request.

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