impact on life - healthcare publishing

Dealing with Postnatal Depression

Around the third day following the birth of your baby, you may experience what is commonly known as the 'baby blues'. You may feel tearful or down for a couple of days and this tends to be due to your changing hormones as your breast milk supply increases.

However, this feeling is likely to pass as your hormones settle down and you adjust to life as a new mum. If these feelings continue over a longer period (or even develop some time after your baby is born), you may be among the 10-15% of new mums who experience postnatal depression (PND).

You may have PND if you have some of the following symptoms:

  • time passes you by sometimes - you can look at the clock and wonder where the last two hours went
  • you wake up each morning feeling exhausted, as if you haven't had any sleep
  • you find you laugh and smile less than you used to do
  • you find it hard to concentrate, or organise simple tasks
  • it's hard for you to see 'the funny side' of things
  • you sometimes feel numb, as if feelings and experiences don't reach you
  • simple tasks may require enormous effort
  • you find yourself crying, or feeling tearful, for small things, or for no reason at all
  • you feel you can only be yourself with your partner, and sometimes not even then.

A lot of mothers with PND also feel unable to connect with their baby or, to the other extreme, worry constantly that something bad will happen to them. This can be very distressing at a time when you feel that the outside world expects you to be glowing with happiness about your new arrival.

The important thing to remember is that help is available; awareness about PND is growing all the time and, if you are affected, you do not need to suffer alone or in silence. Speak to your midwife, health visitor or GP if you are worried about postnatal depression and they will be able to recommend an appropriate course of action, as well as providing reassurance and practical advice. There are also some excellent support groups for mothers with PND; you may find local groups that are run by women who have been through the same experience.

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