Friday, January 13, 2012

Article: How blue can postpartum get?

20100605for Junior Magazine

By Chiqui Brosas-Hahn*

Many women get some kind of depression after birth, usually observed on the third day. It comes in different degrees. Many husbands are confused and don’t understand what is happening to their wives. The women themselves feel strongly about certain issues and get overly emotional without realizing that they are having the baby blues. Symptoms are crying, restlessness, irritability, insomnia, confusion, exhaustion, over sleeping, not caring for the baby or too much of it and feelings of guilt. This is sometimes brought about by a discontented experience in labor, birth or hospital stay or some trauma.  Added here is the stress of having a new born baby who is completely dependent on her. She tries to adjust to her new role as mother and nurturer. The many changes in her life and a lack of sleep and support make it more difficult for her to adjust. This could be partly hormonal and is to be expected. However, a few mothers go into postpartum depression characterized by the same symptoms but more exaggerated and getting worst. Some have repulsive thoughts about their baby that come and go. If these symptoms get worst and is accompanied by hallucinations and confusion, this could be a serious case of postpartum psychosis.
We now know that there are three predisposing factors that trigger postpartum depression. They are:
1.Relationship Factors
2.Biological Factors
3.Psychological Factors
So, if the woman’s family has a history of depression and or she has a history of anxiety and panic attacks, she may be prone to it.  Other risks would be marital problems or being a single parent. A woman who thinks she could do it all and has the super woman syndrome. On the other hand it could also happen to a woman who is not confident in taking care of her baby. Other causes of postpartum depression could be if the baby has some kind of disability or health problem, or it could be a hormonal problem like a thyroid imbalance.
Seek help when her condition seems to worsen and continues for more than two weeks. When no one is able to help her any more with what she’s feeling and it’s over whelming. Ask for help when life is beginning to be more difficult than normal.
It would be best for the mother to be able to talk to someone about how she feels. She should get as much support as she can after birth. While the mother baby’s her baby, somebody ought to be “babying” the mother. She should try to get as much rest and sleep. When the baby sleeps, sleep! She needs to be able to drink and eat a well balanced diet. For the first two weeks she should only take care of herself and her baby until she is able to adjust to her new role. So for the husbands, do not be overly demanding and learn to do some house hold chores. If you want something done, do it. Help out in the house until your wife is able to adjust to her new role. Find a helper, it could be her mother or sister or even her best friend. Hire a maid to look after her. Continuously encourage her, praise her for the work she is doing. Tell her how proud of you of her for taking such good care of your baby. Be a support to her during this difficult time. You can put the baby to sleep, burp the baby or change his diapers to allow the mother more sleep. After all, a happy wife makes a happy husband.

*Chiqui Brosas-Hahn is a USA Trained Childbirth Educator having attended several ICEA (International Childbirth Education Association) conventions in the USA . She also finished a full course of the Bradley Method as an instructor. She has been teaching childbirth classes for at least eighteen years. Chiqui’s Prepared Childbirth Classes (PCC) is all year round. Visit:

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