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Perhaps you remember imagining your pregnant self as having a wonderful “glow,” but just felt lousy a good portion of the time. Postpartum can be like that too. You’ve been looking forward to this wonderful event, and now your body’s hormonal balance is suddenly changed. There are new stresses to cope with; having a newborn in the home can feel isolating, and fatigue doesn’t begin to describe how tired you are. The “baby blues” usually subside with time, but serious postpartum depression is a dangerous condition that should be discussed with your medical provider. Remember too that fathers are also at risk of postpartum depression.

graphic of a pink yield sign

TEMPORARY SYMPTOMS

that should end in a couple of weeks

  • Bouts of crying
  • Difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Feeling almost completely overwhelmed
graphic of a pink stop sign

WARNING SIGNS

of serious postpartum depressionWarning signs of serious postpartum depression

  • Talk with your medical provider about your feelings
  • Withdrawing from your partner and experiencing difficulty bonding with your bab
  • Anxiety so severe you have difficulty sleeping, even when very tired
  • Feelings of self-loathing or worthlessness
  • Suicidal thoughts

Don’t go it alone. Your family doctor or other health care provider is an especially valuable resource because they can provide care for both mother and baby. Talk with them about your thoughts and feelings, especially if postpartum difficulties persist.

 

HOW TO HELP SOMEONE EXPERIENCING POSTPARTUM CHALLENGES

  • Encourage her to express her feelings.
  • Offer to take as much of the household chores and childcare as you can.
  • Encourage her to take time to care for herself, and do what you can to make that possible.
  • Keep your perspective and know that this too shall pass.

(This article is part of Virginia Gay Hospital’s bi-annual publication, “Thrive” Spring/Summer 2018 issue. An online version of the entire publication can be found at https://myvgh.org/thrive/)

Virginia Gay Family Medical Clinics provide prenatal care to 30 weeks for pregnancies without complications. Well-child visits are available beginning after the first postpartum assessment, and children are cared for through adolescence. To schedule an appointment, call the clinic of your choice: Atkins, Urbana, Van Horne or Vinton Family Medical Clinic.

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