How to Cope with Postpartum Depression: 11 Tips for New Moms

Natalie Maximets

Giving birth to a baby is a life-changing experience that can be filled with a rollercoaster of different emotions.

One minute you feel extreme sadness and crying spells.

And the next minute, you might be glowing with joy, cuddling the baby resting in your arms.

The thing is, mild depression and mood swings can be signs of a syndrome called “baby blues.

But if these symptoms don’t go away after a few weeks or get worse, you are likely suffering from postpartum depression.

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It is very important that you learn how to cope with postpartum depression.

And also learn how to treat postpartum depression naturally

This article will tell you exactly how to do this and improve the quality of life for yourself and your loved ones.

Let’s dive deep into this topic and determine how to get rid of postpartum depression with minimal losses.

Effective management of postpartum depression requires a deep understanding of this health issue.

So, what are the specific features of this disorder?

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What is postpartum depression like?

Postpartum depression is a mental health illness that appears after childbirth.

According to the American Psychological Association, nearly 1 in 7 women develop postpartum depression in the US annually.

At the same time, even though the disorder is typically associated with women, it can also affect surrogates and adoptive parents.

The common symptoms of postpartum depression include but are not limited to:

  • Frequent crying for no particular reason
  • Changes in eating and sleep patterns
  • Loss of interest in things you enjoyed previously
  • Severe anxiety or panic attacks
  • Loss of energy and motivation
  • Showing little interest in your baby
  • Difficulty thinking or focusing
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Thoughts about harming yourself or others
  • Feelings of hopelessness and shame
  • Feelings of guilt

What causes postpartum depression

There’s no single reason why some women are affected by this disorder, whereas others simply enjoy their new roles as mothers.

However, the Journal of Education and Health Promotion reports that you are likely to face this health issue if you have had any of the following:

  • Family history of postpartum depression.
  • Previous history of depression not related to pregnancy.
  • Severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
  • Age at time of pregnancy (the younger you are, the higher the chances).
  • Limited social support.
  • Stressful life events during pregnancy or after childbirth, e.g., a job loss or health crisis.

How do you know if you have postpartum depression

Postpartum is a psychological health issue, which is why there is no blood test or body scan that can be used to diagnose this disorder.

Instead, your doctor will most likely talk to you about your health history and how you’ve felt since delivery.

Plus, they can use PPD screening tests, such as:

  1. Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) – It is a questionnaire consisting of 10 short statements designed to assess mood in women during pregnancy and the postnatal period. 
  2. 2 Question Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-2) – This questionnaire is based on two screening questions: one about the frequency of depressed mood and another about the loss of interest in activities.
  3. 9-Question Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) – It is a multipurpose instrument assessing the degree of depression severity via a 9-step questionnaire.
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How to prevent postpartum depression?

Even though postpartum depression isn’t entirely preventable, there are some prevention strategies that can be used to lower the risk of suffering from this health issue.

They are as follows:

  • Work with your doctor to develop a prevention plan that fits you best.
  • Put realistic expectations for yourself and your baby.
  • Limit visitors when you first go home.
  • Speak up when you feel off.
  • Don’t isolate yourself – keep in touch with family/ friends
  • Catch up on your sleep when the baby sleeps
  • Exercise – even a walk outside the house is great
  • Eat sensibly
  • Avoid unnecessary phone calls

Best Tips to Cope with Postpartum Depression as a New Mom

There is a combination of different postpartum depression treatment options available in the modern healthcare system.

Most often, doctors use antidepressant medicines, psychotherapy, and support group participation to treat PPD. Anyways, the main treatment goals for postpartum depression are:

  • To overcome depression symptoms 
  • To achieve a state of remission 

But what can you personally do to help cope with postpartum depression? Here’s a list of the most effective tips fordealing withpostpartum depression.

1. Create a Secure Attachment with Your Baby

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The attachment bond plays an essential role in building a strong relationship between your baby and you, their primary caretaker.

This unique connection not only benefits your baby in their social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development.

It also improves your psychological well-being by releasing endorphins that make you feel more satisfied as a parent.

To improve the emotional exchange that draws the two of you together, pay attention to:

  • Skin-to-skin contact (its benefits also include improved weight gain, better brain development, and decreased crying)
  • Baby massage (it decreases the severity of depression, which is achieved by learning to understand your baby’s cues and the release of oxytocin)
  • Smile (seeing your baby’s smile is similar to a “natural high,” as brain areas that are activated during this process relate to the neurotransmitter dopamine, reports the American Academy of Pediatrics)

2. Develop a Self-Care Plan

Another essential tip on how to deal with postpartum depression at home is to implement simple lifestyle changes in your life.

Your self-care plan should cover needs that are vital to your well-being. It can include:

  • The practice of mindfulness meditation
  • Setting aside quality time for yourself
  • Reading books
  • Going to SPA
  • Watching a movie
  • Giving yourself a manicure or pedicure

3. Be Honest with Your Partner

Dealing with postpartum depression is difficult, especially if you’re alone in this battle.

According to a study published by the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, expressing your feelings to others can help shift your mood.

So, be honest with your partner and stay open to their help.

Whether it is dropping off a meal for you or holding your baby while you take a nap, do not reject your partner’s offer of help in dealing with postpartum depression. 

4. Engage in Physical Activities

Based on information from an article published in the journal Birth, physical activity is a safe strategy to reduce postpartum depressive symptoms and improve the overall psychological well-being.

Thus, if you don’t know how to deal with postpartum depression on your own, simply get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every week.

5. Improve Your Sleep Schedule

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Do you know why most women face postpartum mental health problems in the first weeks after childbirth?

Because of sleep deprivation.

A full eight-hour sleep may seem like an unattainable luxury during this period.

Lack of sleep increases your risk of postpartum depression symptoms, so it is no wonder why you might spend 5 days postpartum crying in your bathroom.

To allow your body and mind to recharge, go to sleep earlier than usual, let your family take care of the baby while you nap, and ask your partner to take a few middle-of-the-night feeds.

6. Eat Regular, Healthy Meals

Each treatment plan for PPD usually includes recommendations regarding healthy nutrition.

It can be explained by the fact that certain micronutrient deficiencies may increase the risk of developing postpartum depression. These nutrients include:

  • Trace Minerals, including Selenium, Zinc, and Iron
  • Vitamin D
  • B-Vitamins, including B-6 and B-12 
  • Essentially fatty acids, including EPA/DHA

So, ensure your diet consists of eggs, nuts, whole grains, red meat, beef, liver, seafood, fruits, and vegetables to make postpartum blues/depressiontreatmentas effective as possible.

7. Build a Support System with a Great Network of People

Helping someone with postnatal depression requires a vast amount of time, patience, and love.

But who can do it better than friends and family?

Research suggests that postpartum depression is less likely to occur if a new mother regularly interacts with other people.

So, don’t forget to dedicate some time to your friends and family even if it seems impossible sometimes.

For instance, you can go to the cinema, play card games, or simply talk with them while drinking a cup of tea. 

8. Keep the Spark Alive in Your Relationships

The next tip on how to deal with postpartum depression after birthis to maintain close romantic relationships with your partner.

Ultimately, you are not only parents but also husband and wife.

So, instead of constantly worrying about house chores, think about scheduling a date night, expressing “love” in your partner’s love language, or instituting one phone-free hour every day to spend time alone. 

Otherwise, if you shift the whole focus of attention from your husband to a baby, you might end up dealing with divorce-related depression

9. Examine Your Breastfeeding

Even though there are many debates regarding the association between breastfeeding and postpartum depression, most healthcare providers believe that breastfeeding may reduce your risk of developing PPD.

Evidence provided in a research study published by the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine supports this idea.

10. Join Support Group

If you want to take comfort in the fact that you are not alone in your struggles, you can join parent support groups.

Typically, moms participating in these groups jointly discuss a variety of problems, from 3 months postpartum mood swings to how long do you take antidepressants for postpartum depression.

These groups are places where you can give and receive support, ask questions, and begin building a parent community.

11. Seek Psychological Help

The last important recommendation on what to do for postpartum depression is to seek mental health support.

A well-experienced psychologist can help you learn strategies to change how depression makes you think, feel, and act.

Usually, this result is achieved with the help of psychosocial (e.g., peer support, non-directive counseling) and psychological (e.g., cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy) interventions. 

A Final Thought

So, how do you get over postpartum depression without using antidepressants?

Often, new moms can cope with postpartum depression without going to the clinic.

It is enough to make some lifestyle changes outlined above.

However, if the symptoms of this disorder become more severe with time, it is recommended to make an appointment with a doctor and discuss this health issue.

Article originally published in SmartBabyAdvice

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Certified Transformational Life Coach and Content Writer with experience in self-development, family building, and psychological well-being.

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