Should You Take Medications When Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding provides many benefits to the baby: its the perfect nutrition, it helps build a babys immune system, it may help prevent adulthood obesity, and it provides comfort and security. Breastfeeding also provides benefits for the mother: it releases prolactin and oxytocin , which help a mother bond with her baby and provide a sense of relaxation. When considering whether to start a medication, it is important to be aware that all psychiatric medications are excreted into the breast milk. Your doctor can help you think through the risks and benefits of medications based on the severity of your illness, medication preference, and previous response, as well as factors unique to your baby, such as medical illness or prematurity.
What Are Ways To Cope With Postpartum Depression
It’s OK to feel overwhelmed. Parenting is full of ups and downs and having a baby isn’t easy. If you have depression, you don’t have to suffer alone. Your healthcare provider can help find a treatment that works for you.
Here are some things you can do to help cope with postpartum depression:
- Find someone to talk to â a therapist, friend, family member or someone who will listen to you and help you.
- Join a support group for new parents.
- Try to eat healthily and find time for exercise.
- Prioritize rest for yourself.
- Go out with friends or talk to them on the phone.
- Find time for self-care and doing things you enjoy, like reading or other hobbies.
- Get help with household chores or errands.
Missing The Symptoms And Feeling Like A Failure
When I experienced postpartum depression, I didnt recognize the symptoms at first. It wasnt until a couple of months into my third maternity leave that everything boiled over and I realized I needed help.
I had the experience, the expertise, and the resources to understand what was happening. But I still overlooked itI still felt that I was the problem, that I just couldnt handle motherhood.
I have heard this same story from many other therapists. So many of us have training and knowledge about anxiety, depression, and mood disorders, but we still dont recognize it when we experience it ourselves.
Dr. Wendy was the same way. She had been a psychotherapist for a decade when her first baby was born. Living through postpartum depression and anxiety was something different entirely.
She shared that despite her training, despite her experience, and despite understanding anxiety and depression for her whole life, when she developed symptoms, she didnt recognize themshe thought that she had failed, that she should never have become a mom, and that she was broken.
Now, she has dedicated her career to helping other moms who are going through that same experience, so that they can understand that they arent failingthey are suffering.
Can Postpartum Depression Affect My Baby
Yes, postpartum depression can affect your baby. Getting treatment is important for both you and your baby.
Research suggests that postpartum depression can affect your baby in the following ways:
- You have trouble bonding with your baby and don’t establish a connection with them.
- Your child may have behavior or learning problems.
- You may skip appointments with your child’s pediatrician.
- Your child may have feeding and sleeping issues.
- Your child may be at higher risk for obesity or developmental disorders.
- You may neglect your child’s care or not recognize when they are ill.
- Your baby may have impaired social skills.
Who Experiences Postpartum Depression
Women from all ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds can experience postpartum depression. However, there are some factors that indicate a greater risk for developing postpartum depression:
- A history of depression
- Presence of depression or anxiety during pregnancy
- A previous postpartum depression episode
- Family history of postpartum depression
- Being in the midst of stressful life events
- Lack of a strong support system
- Financial strain
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Baby Blues Postpartum Depression Or Postpartum Anxiety
Chances are, you have heard about the baby blues or postpartum depression. You may have even filled out questionnaires about your mood during your postpartum doctors visit. The baby blues are a very common reaction to decreasing hormone levels after delivery, and may leave you feeling sad, weepy, and overwhelmed. However, these symptoms are mild and only last for a couple of weeks. When the symptoms persist and become debilitating, something else could be going on.
Many symptoms overlap between postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety . Mothers experiencing postpartum depression commonly experience symptoms of anxiety, although not all mothers suffering from anxiety are depressed. Establishing the correct diagnosis is important, as women with postpartum anxiety may not respond as well to certain treatments for depression, such as interpersonal psychotherapy or medications such as bupropion .
Similar to postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety may spike due to hormonal changes in the postpartum period. It may also increase as a response to real stressors whether its the health of the baby, finances, or in response to navigating new roles in your relationships. A history of pregnancy loss also increases your risk for developing postpartum anxiety. If you have a history of anxiety before or during pregnancy, postpartum anxiety symptoms may also return after delivery. Anxiety and sadness may also appear after weaning from breastfeeding due to hormonal changes.
Try Psychotherapy And Medication
If you have tried self-help, made lifestyle changes, and sought support but have experienced no improvement, your doctor may suggest that you try medication, psychotherapy, or both.
- Psychotherapy, also called mental health counseling or talk therapy, can help you to discuss your concerns and feelings, set goals that are manageable, and learn to respond to situations positively.
- Antidepressants may be recommended if your depression is severe or when other treatments have not improved your symptoms. Your doctor will take that into account if you are breast-feeding when prescribing your medication.
Research may be able to explain why a particular antidepressant is effective in treating postpartum depression. Researchers found that Citalopram from a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and sold under the brand name Celexa may restore connections between cells in the regions of the brain that are adversely affected by stress during pregnancy.
Other research indicates that if you are unable to cope with going to face-to-face talking therapy sessions, then Internet-based cognitive behavior therapy could your symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Remember: experiencing postpartum is nobodys fault. It is a medical condition that requires treatment.
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What Is Samhsa’s National Helpline
SAMHSAs National Helpline, , or TTY: is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.
Do I Need Health Insurance To Receive This Service
The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.
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Create A Support System
Having positive social interactions and emotional support may be a protective factor in helping to reduce stress. Seek other moms with children of the same age as yours through groups, classes, or apps. Research has shown that loneliness leads to painful feelings of isolation.
Receiving social support from others can enable you to better cope with problems on your own. It can boost your self-esteem and sense of independence. Some people benefit from having mutual trust and friendship among just a few people. Seek other women who are facing a similar transition into motherhood. If you struggle to connect, try not to give up forging new connections is possible.
My Sister Had A Baby A Couple Of Weeks Ago And I Can See Shes Not Herself And Is Hurting I Don’t Want To Offend Her By Suggesting She Get Help How Can I Help Her
When someone we love is suffering, it’s natural to want to give advice. And at the same time, we may fear that our unsolicited advice will put them on the defense. However, given that the risks for untreated peripartum depression are so great , it is crucial our loved one receive timely support. Some thoughts on how to help your sister: offer to spend time with her, let her take naps, join her for a walk, allow her to engage in self-care in the way she finds most effective .
Ask her how she is sleeping, and how her mood is. Let her know you are not judging her and you are there to help empathize, validate and normalize her experience. For example, you can say: I can only imagine what youre going through, or This must be a really rough time, or You are doing such a great job.
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How Postpartum Depression And Anxiety Impact New Moms
One of the reasons why postpartum mental health issues go overlooked is that the symptoms lead us to shut down. People who struggle with depression often find themselves lacking interest and enjoyment in their lives.
But when moms experience this, they feel ashamed. They have been told that motherhood will be a joyful experience, full of love and connection. When moms find themselves wanting to withdraw, they think they are just not cut out for motherhood.
They dont want to talk about what they are experiencing. They dont want to admit they arent feeling this overwhelming love and happiness they think they should feel. So instead of seeking help, they often try to dismiss and push down their feelings.
This is what both Dr. Wendy and I went through. But ultimately, we both sought help for our struggles, and both have used that experience to become better advocates for maternal mental health.
Dr. Wendy said that in a way, she is grateful for the suffering she experienced. It allowed her to show her children that when you struggle with mental health, its important to find someone to talk to. It also fueled her to start volunteering to help other birthing people experiencing the same strugglesa path that ultimately led her to be the first executive director of PSI.
Does A Mothers Postpartum Depression Affect Her Newborn
The answer to this is yes. A mother who is battling postpartum depression is more likely to feel anger and resentment towards her baby.
Although your baby cannot talk or express themselves, they feel that connection right away and will also feel that resentment.
Because of this reason alone, I highly suggest you go to your doctor and make sure you are treated right away to give you and baby both a chance to thrive.
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I Am Pregnant And Have Been Diagnosed With Peripartum Depression In Addition To The Psychotherapy My Doctor Recommended What Can I Do For Myself To Keep Me And My Baby Healthy
Get as much support as possible, for example look for a new moms group or even the second or third time moms groups through your local hospital. Try to line up several reliable family members or friends to help or get hired help. Plan as much in advance as possible, take shifts, make selfcare a priority. Spend 15 minutes a day checking in with your partner about non-baby related issues. The basics are keyeating well, sleep, and exercise within reason. Shoulder rubs from your partner, and if you can afford to splurge, a massage, can help. Touch can be very relaxing and soothing, especially with all the aches and pains of our bodies creating and carrying another human for almost a year! Setting realistic expectations, working on communication, asking for help, learning relaxation techniques can also help. Consider talking with your doctor about medication in moderate to serious cases.
What Should You Do If You Think You Have Postpartum Anxiety
If any of this sounds all too familiar to you, make an appointment with your Primary Care Physician.
I had no clue what I was going through when this all reared its head in my life.
I thought it was my thyroid or a whole bunch of other stuff! When I talked to my PCP about this, she gave me a medicine that I could take if I felt any of the anxiety symptoms.
The problem with that was, it put me to sleep immediately. So, there was no way that I could take this medicine when I had my child, or when I needed to drive etc.
So I went back to the PCP and I asked for something else. She started me on a low dose of Lexapro. She warned me of all the side effects that could happen.
Then she referred me to a Licensed Professional Counselor. She said medicine would only help so much, and that a counselor would give me the right tools in my toolbox to get through this ugly dark time.
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Tips For Overcoming Postpartum Depression And Anxiety
I am pleased to feature this guest post about postpartum depression and anxiety written by author Bridget Croteau. When I was a first-time mom, I experienced the baby blues for several weeks. I was weepy, detached, and forlorn. I found myself overwhelmed by even simple tasks, often neglected to eat, and worried about everything. Eventually, I started to come out of the darkness, find myself again, and enjoy motherhood. Bridget is committed to shedding light on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders such as postpartum depression and anxiety, and supporting and encouraging parents who are experiencing such disorders. Jennie
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases.
Postpartum depression and other perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are the most common complication of childbearing. PMADs affect 1 in 5 mothers and 1 in 10 fathers! I personally went through a PMAD twice following the births of both my girls. It was an incredibly difficult and lonely time, but I got through it with help, and so will you!
Im going to share some tips I learned through education and my personal experience on how to get through a PMAD. Everyone has a different situation and journey, so what worked for me, may not work for you and thats okay! I also want to stress that getting through this took time.
What Are The Symptoms Of Postpartum Depression
Some people feel ashamed about their symptoms or feel they are terrible parents for feeling the way they do. Postpartum depression is extremely common. You’re not the only person who feels this way, and it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.
You may have postpartum depression if you experience some of the following:
- Feeling sad, worthless, hopeless or guilty.
- Worrying excessively or feeling on edge.
- Loss of interest in hobbies or things you once enjoyed.
- Changes in appetite or not eating.
- Loss of energy and motivation.
- Trouble sleeping or wanting to sleep all the time.
- Crying for no reason or excessively.
- Difficulty thinking or focusing.
- Thoughts of suicide or wishing you were dead.
- Lack of interest in your baby or feeling anxious around your baby.
- Thoughts of hurting your baby or feeling like you don’t want your baby.
Contact your healthcare provider if you think you have postpartum depression. This can be your obstetrician, primary care provider or mental health provider. Your baby’s pediatrician can also help you.
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Do I Have Postpartum Anxiety Or Postpartum Depression
Postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression share some symptoms, but they are different conditions. Excessive worrying, feeling panicky for no reason and having irrational fears or obsessions are all signs of postpartum anxiety. It’s important to discuss all your symptoms with your healthcare provider so they can get you the help you need.
How Depression Affects Fathers
Some fathers also report symptoms of depression. To better understand the experiences of fathers, PRAMS implemented a PRAMS for Dads pilot project. The pilot projectexternal icon in Georgia found 1 in 10 fathers reported depressive symptoms since the birth of their new baby. Studies such as PRAMS for Dads can help quantify mens health behaviors and service needs.
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Why Anger Arises As A Symptom Of Postpartum Depression And Anxiety
Anger is one of the most overlooked symptoms of PPD and PPA. When we experience Mom Rage, we often feel shame. We want to hide it instead of talk about it.
This is especially true for mothers of colour who often fear that if they express the anger they feel, they run the risk of being reported to social services.
Dr. Wendy said its important to remember that anger is a symptom of PPD and PPA, but violence is not. Anger comes from stressit doesnt usually mean you are going to harm anyone. More often, it gets internalized, damaging our relationship with ourselves or our partner.
She compared it to a pot boiling overit doesnt mean the ingredients in the pot are wrong it just means that we need to turn the heat down and maybe get a second pot to pour some of the water into.
Anger is a way our bodies tell us we are coping with too much and that we need help.
Dr. Wendy said that if you notice that your partner is experiencing uncharacteristic rage, the question you should ask is not Whats wrong with her? Its, Whats happening for her?
If you are the one experiencing rage, the question should not be, Whats wrong with me? It should be, What can I do in this moment to make this better?
But the good news is that skills to manage rage are teachable. We can learn strategies for in and out of the moment to manage our anger and feel better.