How to Cope with Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

January 2020

Discover tips for coping with sad and anxious feelings in post-pregnancy.

Asking for help from friends and family can help women who are wondering how to cope with postpartum depression and anxiety.

After waiting all those months to finally hold your precious baby in your arms, sadness and anxiety are probably not the emotions you expected to feel. However, they can affect many women after having a baby. If you’ve experienced signs of postpartum depression and anxiety, such as emotional instability or a persistent belief that something is wrong – or you’re doing everything wrong – there is a mix of lifestyle changes and outside support that can help.

Here’s how to cope with postpartum depression and anxiety:

  1. Ask for help from friends and family
  2. Do at-home exercises
  3. Follow a healthy diet
  4. Try to follow a sleep schedule
  5. Seek medical treatment 

Keep reading to learn more about coping with postpartum depression and anxiety below.

Ask for help from friends and family

Becoming a new mom can feel isolating and lonely for some women, which can invite depressive symptoms to surface. Keep in mind that you’re not alone. If you have an accessible support system of friends and family, reach out to them. Most people want to help and are merely waiting for the opportunity to step in. Perhaps you can ask them to organize your baby’s supplies for easy accessibility, assist with house chores or meals, or give you a break to rest. You can also ask your women’s health provider for advice. Learn more about how to ask for help during postpartum on our blog.

Do at-home exercises

Studies show that exercise may be useful in preventing postpartum depression and anxiety. While it can be hard to get to the gym with a new baby, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice workouts entirely. Instead, turn to exercises you can do from the comfort of your living room or neighborhood. If you enjoyed jogging pre-pregnancy, sneakers and a stroller would get you back on the pavement in a flash. Or, check out our mommy-and-me workout ideas and ways to work out with household items like laundry detergent, stairs, and walls. Be sure to talk to your women’s health provider before starting any new exercise routine to ensure it’s safe for you.

Follow a healthy diet

Like exercise, diet can be another effective lifestyle method to cope with postpartum depression and anxiety. In general, follow tried-and-true healthy principles like eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy proteins, while limiting sugar and other refined carbohydrates. Mediterranean diets are rich in anti-depressive nutrients—these diets include legumes, nuts, fish, whole grains, leafy greens, and other healthy whole foods. You could also talk to your women’s health provider about taking a supplement if you’re not able to fit in enough depression-fighting B vitamins, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.

Try to follow a sleep schedule

We know – this is easier said than done. But, it’s worth the effort to plan sleep in a way that meets your and your baby’s needs as best as you can. Poor sleep quality and postpartum depression and anxiety often occur together and exacerbate one another. The National Sleep Foundation suggests syncing your sleep schedules with your baby and trading sleeping shifts with your partner to help get better sleep with a newborn. You can also make changes to create a conducive sleep environment and practice healthy habits of sleep hygiene, like watching what you eat before bed, keeping the bedroom temperature cool, and turning off technology.

Seek medical treatment 

When you break your arm, you get a splint. When you get sick, you take medicine. Some mental health symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety can benefit from medical treatment too. Talk to your women’s health provider about your symptoms, especially if you’ve tried lifestyle changes that haven’t worked for you. They may suggest medication, therapy, or joining a postpartum support group. All these treatments can be combined with the lifestyle changes above to help you feel more like yourself again.

Our doctors and women’s health team can help you learn more about these and other ways to cope with postpartum depression and anxiety. Contact us online today to make an appointment or call 920.885.6090.

This is a public forum, by which BDWH provides general information to patients and prospective patients. You should not post any personal or identifying information on this Blog. The information that appears on this Blog does not constitute medical advice and is not a substitute for a consultation with a Healthcare Professional.

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