You may feel nervous, tearful and overwhelmed in the first few weeks after giving birth. Approximately 80 percent of women experience some degree of postpartum blues around the third to fifth day after they deliver their baby. Although they may pass as quickly as they come, symptoms may include:
- Crying spells
- Mood swings
- Feeling overly concerned about the baby
- Lack of confidence in their mothering ability
While waiting for these feelings to pass, you can:
- Rest – Get help with chores or let them go for now. Instead, lie down and rest while your baby sleeps.
- Play – Plan frequent outings with the baby or ask someone to babysit while you go out. Take a walk.
- Eat well – Include plenty of whole grains, milk products, fresh fruits and vegetables, and protein-rich foods, such as fish, chicken, beef, cheese and beans.
- Talk about it – Share your feelings or concerns with a family member or friend you can trust.
- Seek support – Tell your partner how you feel and ask for help and support. Join a new mothers group, such as the groups offered weekly at Women & Infants. Call the Warm Line at 1-800-711-7011 for more information.
Sometimes, these feelings last longer than a few days, leading to depression. The symptoms listed worsen and feelings may include:
- Loss of pleasure in activities that were previously pleasurable
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling of helplessness or loss of control
- Over concern or no concern at all about baby
- Dislike or fear of touching baby
- Frightening thoughts about baby
- Little or no concern about your appearance
- Inability to sleep even when baby sleeps
Postpartum blues leading to depression is treatable. There is help available. If you have any concerns about postpartum depression, call the Warm Line (1-800-711-7011) or your health care provider. Women & Infants has a postpartum support group for new mothers experiencing postpartum depression and a Day Program for postpartum depression or depression and anxiety during pregnancy (see below).
Postpartum Day Program
This specialized treatment program allows mother and baby to remain together during treatment. Admission to the program is recommended for postpartum or pregnant women with depression, mood disorders, or anxiety disorders which result in significant impairment in one or more of the following areas:
- Daily functioning at home or work
- Ability to care for themselves or their infant
- Ability to bond and engage with their infant
If you are experiencing suicidal or homicidal tendencies, or if you are in imminent risk of acting on these dangerous thoughts, call 911 or Women & Infants Hospital at (401) 274-1100 and ask to speak to the social worker on call.
Women referred to the Day Program will find:
- Group therapy
- Individual therapy
- Mother-infant assessment
- Family assessment
- Infant massage
- Medication assessment
- Educational support
- Nutrition consultation
- Lactation consultation
The Day Program, located at 2 Dudley St., is reimbursable through most insurance plans, with pre-authorization. It is staffed by licensed, qualified professionals from Women & Infants who are experts in maternal-child behavioral health. The program's hours are Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.
For information, call the Day Program at (401) 274-1122, extension 2870.