Bringing a new baby into the world, whether it’s your first, or your seventh, comes with a wide range of emotions that can rush in like a Spring blizzard or waft slowly in and out like Fall flurries.
Caused by hormone fluctuations and lack of sleep most of these emotions are considered to be normal, and will subside within the first two weeks. These are called postpartum blues, or baby blues and are a normal part of the 4th trimester for 40-80% of birthing parents.
If your symptoms do not go away on their own, or begin around two weeks postpartum, it’s possible you may be dealing with postpartum depression. Postpartum depression can occur in both parents and should not be ignored.
- Marital conflict
- Stress within the last year (moving, divorce, loss)
- Lack of support during pregnancy
- Lack of support from your partner
- Lack of a partner (not by choice)
- Unplanned pregnancy
- Previous thoughts of termination
- Previous miscarriage
- History of mental health issues in the family
- Strained, or no relationship with your mother
- Not breastfeeding
- Primary providers being unemployed
- History of depression in your partner
- Stress about childcare
- Needing to use sick leave during pregnancy
- Many prenatal visits during pregnancy
- Infant with congenital malformation
- Being a high needs person (neuroticism, introversion)
- History of mental illness (bi-polar)
If you have any of these risk factors, it may be beneficial to plan ahead for help and preventative measures in the days, weeks and months immediately following the birth of your child. There are many things you can do to try to prevent and deal with postpartum depression in your third trimester and beyond.
- Set up a support system, beginning during pregnancy. Reach out to a handful of trusted friends and family, explain your needs, worries and risk factors, and create a list of people you can call on for help.
- If you have a history of any type of mental illness, whether it is controlled by medication or not, check in with your care providers. They may be able to suggest adjustments to medications or lifestyle changes that can reduce your risk.
- Take a 411 for the 4th trimester class as well as a newborn care class. The more educated and prepared you feel, the less stress you may have leading up to the birth.
- Get your placenta encapsulated. Many people who encapsulate their placenta or use a placenta tincture report increased energy, iron levels, and milk supply as well as fewer hormone fluctuations in their 4th trimester. Colorado Mountain Doulas offers safe placenta encapsulation in Denver, Colorado Springs, Castle Rock, and other Colorado cities.
- Create a Postpartum Care Plan with the help of a postpartum doula. A care plan can help you think about all the typical and non-typical things you need to prepare for. A good postpartum care plan can get you on the right track to line up help after baby arrives, not only for yourself, but for your spouse, your other children, and your animals.
- Hire professional help. The first three months or more after your new baby arrives can be difficult to navigate. Here in the U.S. there is an unrealistic expectation of recovery from such a monumental event. Hiring out for help ensures that someone will be there when you need them, on your schedule, and without preconceived notions of how things should be going. Paying a house cleaner to come twice a month, can make a world of difference in how you feel about your surroundings and can take one more thing off your plate.
- Hire a professionally trained postpartum doula. Postpartum doulas are highly skilled, and professionally trained to support families welcoming a new baby to the world. They are well versed on the most recent information, standards and equipment to help you care for your newborn. They provide hands on education, in the privacy of your own home, with your baby. They have no agenda or specific philosophy when it comes to your parenting decisions. They are there to provide unbiased support, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on and comfort to the entire family while you recover from birth and you and baby adjust to life together. Colorado Mountain Doulas is proud to provide professional postpartum doula services in Colorado areas such as Denver and Colorado Springs.
- For more information, and to get additional help and support if you struggling with PPD, PPA, or any other postpartum illness, please visit Postpartum Progress or Postpartum Support International to find additional resources in your area.