Tips for Managing Postpartum Depression from a Baltimore Therapist

What a Baltimore Therapist Wants You to Know to Properly Manage Postpartum Depression

They say that being a parent is one of the hardest jobs you’ll ever have. At Psych Associates of Maryland, we have to agree — not just because those tiny rascals are sure to give you a run for your money for at least 18 years, but because parenting is tied to a high amount of stress that can take a serious toll on your mental health.

Among a number of mental health issues faced by parents is postpartum depression: a mental health condition that affects women after childbirth. As the leading Baltimore therapist, we want to help everyone understand and work through their biggest life challenges, which is why we’re here to break down tips for managing postpartum depression.

What is Postpartum Depression (PPD)?

A Baltimore Therapist Breaks Down the Common Mood Disorder

woman baby ppd

We’ve all heard of postpartum depression and are likely familiar with it in terms of ‘the baby blues’ that women face after having a baby. However, according to a Baltimore therapist, postpartum depression is a serious mood disorder that occurs in women after childbirth when a woman experiences extreme sadness, anxiety, and emotional exhaustion that makes it difficult to carry out daily activities for herself and her family.

Postpartum depression is much more serious than ‘the baby blues,’ which affects up to 80% of new mothers. Baby blues typically last a week or two and go away on their own. Postpartum depression, however, involves these feelings beginning a week to a month after childbirth and carrying on for a longer period of time. 

People often associate women with postpartum depression with being a bad mom or doing bad parenting, but much like clinical depression, postpartum depression is caused by a variety of factors that are unrelated to a woman’s ability to parent a child.

Women of all ages, races, ethnicities, and economic statuses struggle with postpartum depression suffer from postpartum depression, and just because a woman suffered from postpartum depression with one child doesn’t mean she’ll face it with others.

Much like other mental health and mood disorders, women have a great risk of developing postpartum depression due to a variety of risk factors, including

  • Existing/history of symptoms of depression
  • A family member with depression or mental illness
  • A stressful life event during pregnancy or shortly after giving birth, such as job loss, death of a loved one, domestic violence, or personal illness
  • Medical complications during childbirth
  • Mixed feelings about the pregnancy, whether it was planned or unplanned
  • A lack of strong emotional support from her spouse, partner, family, or friends
  • Alcohol or other drug abuse problems

Up to 15% of new mothers experience postpartum depression, which is typically treated with antidepressants and talk therapy with a counselor. An official diagnosis from a Baltimore psychiatrist is required to know you have postpartum depression versus another mood disorder. 

Tips for Managing Postpartum Depression from a Baltimore Therapist

moms and babies smiling

Talk to a Professional

When it comes to treatment for postpartum depression, psychotherapy in the treatment of choice. This involves talking to a Baltimore therapist about your thoughts and feelings while developing coping mechanisms for stress, depression, and anxiety. In some cases,  you may be prescribed anti-depressants. While the medication does enter breast milk, it is generally considered safe to take antidepressants while breastfeeding. Your doctor will help advise as to whether or not this is a choice for you.

Make Time for Exercise

Staying active with a young child while experiencing symptoms of PPD may seem impossible, but research has shown that exercise can help alleviate symptoms of depression for women with postpartum depression. Something as simple as taking a walk with the baby stroller can help you feel better.

Eat Well

While eating healthy cannot cure your PPD, it can help give your body the nutrients necessary to feel and function its best. Planning meals ahead of time and preparing whole food snacks like cheese, apple slices, or chopped carrots can help you snack healthily even when you’re in a pinch.

Make Me-time

While it may seem difficult to set time aside for yourself, it’s an important thing to do to ensure that you’re being the best parent you can be. Handing the baby off to your spouse or a trusted caretaker while you get your hair or nails done, grab coffee with a friend, or see a movie is a  great way to unwind and recharge, allowing you to continue parenting with a clear, healthy mind.

Try Fish Oil

A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that women with low levels of DHA have higher rates of PPD. If you’re looking for a good source of DHA, try flaxseed oil, fish oil supplements, or seafood.

Build a Support System

The final tip for managing PPD is to develop a strong support system of other moms and older women in your life. Having peer mothers that can give you support, tips, and interaction can help you maintain your sanity when the going gets tough.

Think it’s time to talk to a professional about your PPD? Get in touch with a Baltimore therapist at Psych Associates of Maryland today.


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