9. Proper Sleep and Rest
Sleep is highly essential for a new mom. A full eight hours may seem impossible when you’re dealing with a newborn, but poor sleep makes depression worse.
Poor sleep leads to significant alterations in brain neurotransmitter functioning, which is one of the reasons behind depression.
A 2009 study published in Sleep found that poor sleep was associated with depression, independently of other risk factors.
During pregnancy and the postpartum period, it is important to catch up on lost sleep with naps. If possible, a new mother should take the baby out for a walk every morning to improve the maternal and child circadian rhythms. You can also ask your partner to help with the nighttime work.
Exercise is just as effective as medication when it comes to treating depression. Hence, after delivery, the sooner you get back up and moving, the better.
There is no need to indulge in intense workout programs. Just a 30-minute walk each day will work wonders. You can also take your baby along in a stroller.
Stretching yoga exercises are also especially helpful in getting you back in shape.
A 2007 study published in the Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health highlights the role of exercise in treating postpartum depression. In fact, exercise has antidepressant effects on people suffering from the condition.
A 2009 study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology says that exercise can help alleviate a postpartum depressed mood. Especially home-based exercise has the potential to alleviate postpartum depressive symptoms, especially in women with a higher initial depressed mood.
A study published in the Journal of Women’s Health in 2011 reports that regular physical activity is effective at reducing postpartum depressive symptoms.
Another 2012 study published in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth also highlights the effectiveness of exercise as a treatment for postnatal depression. In fact, exercise should be considered as a treatment for women who develop mild or moderate depression during the postnatal period.
- Learn to bond with your baby. The more emotional connection you have with your baby, the lesser the chance of getting depressed.
- Motherhood is not an easy job. Do not hesitate to lean on others for help and support.
- Make your relationships a priority. During difficult times, strong relationships will help you get through the situation.
- Don’t keep your feelings to yourself. Share what you’re experiencing—the good, the bad and the ugly—with your partner or anyone else with whom you feel comfortable.
- Make yourself and your baby the priority and do not worry much about household chores.
- To avoid postpartum depression, make time to take care of yourself. The more you care for your mental and physical well-being, the better you’ll feel.
- Make meals a priority and be sure to follow a well-balanced diet.
- Make time for your relationship with your partner.
- Keep the lines of communication open, especially with your life partner.
- Listen to a variety of music.
- Keep a journal to express your thoughts and feelings by writing them out.
- In severe cases of postpartum depression, antidepressants may be an option. However, medication should be taken only under the guidance of a physician.