By: Red Door Pediatric Therapy Staff
Caring for Yourself After Having a Baby: Your moving and mental health matters!
Welcoming a new baby into the world can be a joyous and exciting time, but it can also bring about a range of emotions, including sadness and anxiety. Postpartum depression (PPD) is a common mental health disorder that affects many new parents and can last up to three years after giving birth. If you are experiencing symptoms of PPD, it is important to know that you are not alone and that there are steps you can take to start feeling better.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
PPD is a type of depression that can occur after giving birth and affects up to 1 in 7 new mothers.
Symptoms of PPD can include:
- Feeling sad, anxious, or overwhelmed
- Crying frequently or for no apparent reason
- Difficulty sleeping, even when the baby is sleeping
- Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Feeling hopeless, guilty, or worthless
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Thoughts of self-harm or harming your baby
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek help right away. PPD is a treatable condition, and the earlier you seek help, the better the outcome.
What is Perinatal Mental Health?
Perinatal mental health refers to the mental health of individuals during the perinatal period, which includes pregnancy and the first year postpartum. Perinatal mental health disorders can include not only PPD, but also anxiety, bipolar disorder, OCD, birth-related traumatic stress, and postpartum psychosis.
Occupational Therapy can help
Occupational therapy (OT) is a healthcare profession that focuses on helping individuals to participate in activities that are meaningful and important to them, despite any physical or mental health challenges they may face. In the context of perinatal mental health, occupational therapists can play a critical role in helping parents cope with the challenges of having a new baby.
Some of the ways in which occupational therapy can support perinatal mental health include:
- Providing education and support on self-care and stress management techniques
- Helping new parents develop routines and habits that support their mental health
- Supporting new parents in finding ways to engage in meaningful activities that promote mental health and wellbeing
- Collaborating with other healthcare professionals, such as social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists, to provide comprehensive care to individuals with perinatal mental health disorders
What Can You Do if You Are Depressed After Having a Baby?
If you are experiencing symptoms of PPD, the most important thing you can do is seek help. This may include:
- Talking to your healthcare provider about your symptoms
- Reaching out to a mental health professional, such as a therapist or psychiatrist
- Joining a support group for new parents
- Asking for help from friends and family members
- Prioritizing self-care activities, such as exercise, healthy eating, and adequate sleep
Remember that PPD is a treatable condition, and with the right support and treatment, you can start feeling like yourself again. If you would like to visit with our clinicians, our Bismarck team has specialized training for this season of life. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you need it.