You may feel nervous, tearful and overwhelmed in the first few weeks after giving birth. Approximately 85 percent of women experience what is commonly known as the "postpartum or baby blues.” New mothers may notice symptoms in the hours or days after giving birth. Mood changes that characterize the postpartum blues typically diminish within two weeks.
- Crying spells
- Mood swings
- Easily tearful
- Feeling overly concerned about the baby
- Lack of confidence in ability to mother
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. Accept any help that is offered by friends and family.
- 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 couple of weeks and may worsen. This may may signify postpartum depression. Symptoms of depression often begin during pregnancy and 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
- Lack of attachment to pregnancy or infant
- Frightening thoughts about your baby
- Feelings of guilt and/or worthlessness
- Inability to sleep even when baby sleeps
- Diminished self care
- Waves of profound sadness
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Depression and anxiety during pregnancy and the postpartum period is treatable with good success rates. Furthermore, specialized care is available at Women & Infants. If you have any concerns about your mood, call the Warm Line (1-800-711-7011), Women's Behavioral Health at 401-453-7955, or your health care provider. Women & Infants has a postpartum support group for new mothers experiencing postpartum depression and the Day Hospital Program for postpartum depression or depression and anxiety during pregnancy (see below).
Postpartum Depression Day Hospital 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 difficulties 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
Women referred to the Day Program will find:
- Group therapy
- Individual therapy
- Mother-infant assessment and therapy
- Family therapy
- Infant massage
- Medication assessment and management
- Coping skills training
- Mindfulness and relaxation training
- Infant care support
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 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For information, call the Day Hospital at (401) 274-1122, extension 42870.