Postpartum Depression Symptoms: Beyond The Stress And Anxiety Of Being A New Mom

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By Lynn Lee

mombabyBringing your newborn baby home can be a very exciting, joyous time. It may also be overwhelming and stressful. Pregnancy and childbirth are emotional journeys, and it’s entirely normal to occasionally feel a little down for the first few weeks after your baby is born (“The Baby Blues”). But if these feelings continue beyond those first few weeks, you may be suffering from a more serious condition known as postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression is not all that uncommon. It is estimated that one in eight women will be affected by and experience postpartum depression symptoms after giving birth, symptoms that, for some, will require outside help and treatment. There are also women who may begin experiencing these symptoms during their pregnancy.

Knowing your body, as well as the signs of what could be something more than just depression or anxiety, is very important. Some postpartum depression symptoms may include:

• Loss of interest in social interactions and enjoyment of social activities

• Mood swings ranging from sadness and anxiety to extreme guilt

• Little to no energy

• Feelings of exhaustion and body fatigue

• Lack of interest in your baby

• Feelings of worthlessness, thinking that your baby would be better off without you

• Feelings of hopelessness, thinking that you are not going to get better

• Lack of concentration, inability to make decisions

• Suicidal thoughts

womanPostpartum depression is not something that should cause embarrassment. It’s also not something that should be ignored. Support groups, psychotherapy, medication and modifications to your exercise routine and diet can help you feel better.

Although there is no way to know if you will develop postpartum depression, there are some things you can do help alleviate the symptoms of postpartum depression:

• Ask for help. Allow friends and family members to offer you a helping hand, whether that be through cooking, cleaning or just being around to give you a chance to recharge.

• Get moving! Stay active, even if it’s just in short bursts. These small increases in your activity level can help keep your mood and thoughts positive. When time allows, try to do some exercise. You’ll likely feel better and it will also relieve you of some of those extra post-pregnancy pounds.

• Eat your vegetables and fruits. Choose healthy, nutrient-rich food whenever possible. Eating healthier foods will help you feel better and boost energy levels at various points throughout the day. Avoid alcohol and caffeine as much as possible.

• Communicate often with your physician. Make sure you are going to all after-birth follow-up appointments, but also call your physician as soon as any concerns, issues or questions arise.

• Seek community support. Consider joining a support group for new moms. Your physician can likely recommend options in your area.

If you feel that you may be experiencing postpartum depression symptoms, it’s important to act fast. Contact your physician for assistance. If you need immediate emergency care, do not hesitate to contact 911. With the appropriate help and guidance, you can start to feel better and get on the road to enjoying those unforgettable and irreplaceable moments of new parenthood.

– This post was submitted by Lynn L. This information was provided by NorthShore University HealthSystem, a comprehensive healthcare system serving the Chicago region. Visit NorthShore University HealthSystem online to learn more about treatment for postpartum depression symptoms.

Good Nutrition Beyond The Family Meal !

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By Stacey Antine

healthyeatingboyFamily meals are an important tool to emphasize healthy eating and social habits, but the sky is the limit when you connect good nutrition to exploring the great outdoors on family time! Warm weather means it’s time to shut off the TV, to stop texting and get connected with trees, birds, worms and so much more right in our own state, town or backyard. Here’s how to get started on your exciting outdoor adventure with family and friends:

• Mark the Calendar. Schedule play dates with nature at parks, farms, farmers’ markets events and botanical gardens by getting them on the calendar when everyone (pets, too!) is available and then, start the research!

• Start a Garden. From my personal experience of working with thousands of kids of all ages, they love to grow, harvest and cook with their hand-grown food. There is nothing more rewarding for a child (or grown-up kid) to plant carrot seeds, watch their tops grow and then, dig for orange gold when these delicious carrots loaded with beta-carotene are ready to be harvested. Remember you won’t see dancing chicken nuggets in the garden or cans of soda being dumped on the plants because it would hurt the plants. Once kids make the nature-nutrition connection and apply it to their own bodies, their light bulbs go off and you will see their food choices move in a healthier direction.

• Jump into Composting. Composting and gardening go hand-in-hand. It’s an exciting way for the family to eat more fruits and veggies to help build up the pile, reduce landfill garbage, get some exercise and hang out with worms!

• Variety Cures Boredom. Each weekend can bring a new adventure by visiting the local zoo, hike a new path, bike ride as a family and pack a fun, nutritious picnic at the local park. Splurge by camping overnight (I can promise you that you will not find any vending machines at these locations!).

• Go Veggie Picking. Visit a local farm that offers the public the opportunity to pick your own produce and enjoy the experience knowing where your food comes from.

• Bring the Binoculars. Sitting still is a new concept for many of us in our 24/7 lifestyles, but if you just rest and take in the sites, you will be amazed to watch nature at work!

• Keep a Journal. Kids love to create journals of their experiences including what foods they picked and tried, what bugs they found, and any other family adventure. Everyone can participate in drawing, writing or adding stickers of what was observed. Don’t forget the camera!

Get planning and enjoy the great outdoors with your family and remember that good nutrition is an experience that can be achieved beyond the plate at the family meal.

– Stacey Antine, MS, RD, founder, HealthBarn USA, author, Appetite for Life and recognized as top 10 dietitians nationally by Today’s Dietitian magazine for her work with HealthBarn USA.