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Postnatal depression

Spotlight on:

What is postnatal depression?

What causes postnatal depression?

What are the signs of postnatal depression?

How is postnatal depression treated?

Exercise and postnatal depression

Socialising and postnatal depression

Diet and postnatal depression

Don’t bottle it up

 

Did you know that exercise has been shown to help improve mild to moderate postnatal depression? My online postnatal fitness and wellbeing programme is designed not only to keep you fit and healthy but also to connect you with other new mums so that you can support each other via the forum and on my friendly facebook page.

How about giving it a go for FREE and seeing how you find it?

 

 

What is postnatal depression?

Postnatal depression is a form of depression ranging from mild to severe, which can affect more than 1 in 10 postnatal women, and which usually occurs within the first year post pregnancy. It is not to be confused with the baby blues which is transitory, occurs during the first few days after delivery, and will then disappear. Postnatal depression, on the other hand, may start slowly or start suddenly but, either way, it is unlikely to go without some form of treatment, alongside self-help.

What causes postnatal depression?


Postnatal depression is a complex problem and it is likely that there are many contributing factors to its onset:

 

  • A huge change in hormonal levels following the birth
     
  • A previous history of depression
     
  • The sudden life-changing event of giving birth and the emotional and physical demands of motherhood
     
  • Fatigue, coupled with having little support from partner, no family living nearby, and no friends in the area who are also new mums
     
  • Upsetting life situations, whether they be financial, work-related or other

What are the signs of postnatal depression?


If you or your family, friends and partner think you might have postnatal depression, then it is important to go to your GP who will screen you and then - based on the results - advise you accordingly. Signs which might indicate that you are suffering from postnatal depression include:

 

  • A sense of hopelessness
  • Feeling guilty
  • Feeling miserable and tearful
  • Feeling anxious and restless
  • Feeling isolated and lonely
  • Feeling trapped
  • Overwhelming exhaustion


As mothers we all have one or more of these feels at some point but it is when many of these feelings converge and become persistent, that it is important to seek advice from a medical practitioner.

How is postnatal depression treated?


There are three approaches to treating postnatal depression and you will need to go and see your GP to be referred for the first two:

 

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of talking therapy which can help you manage the postnatal depression by encouraging you to think about your problems in a more positive way. You can be referred for CBT by your GP but waiting lists can be very long. Finances permitting, it is also possible to be referred privately.
     
  • Antidepressants can also be prescribed by your GP and certain types are recommended specifically for breastfeeding women, as only small amounts are shown to pass into the breast milk.
     
  • Alongside either or both of the above treatments, there are adjustments that you can make to your lifestyle, which will help improve your mood and fight postnatal depression. Read on…

Exercise and postnatal depression

 

Exercise will alleviate postnatal depression

Many studies have proven that exercise lifts the mood and can be as effective as cognitive behavioural therapy and antidepressants in mild to moderate cases of postnatal depression. Here is how post natal exercise can help:

 

  • Cardiovascular exercise – such as power walking – promotes the production of feel-good hormones called endorphins and this will help allleviate the symptoms of postnatal depression.
     
  • Post natal exercise programmes which include active relaxation – such as my week-by-week online postnatal Pilates programme – help dissipate stress, especially if the postnatal depression is making you feel restless.
     
  • Exercise will also help to disperse the build-up of adrenalin in the body which leads to that unpleasant feeling of queasiness (butterflies) in the abdominal area.
     
  • Exercising outdoors in beautiful natural surroundings, such as a country park, has been proven to be even more effective at lifting the spirits and fighting postnatal depression than following exactly the same exercise routine indoors. So try and get outdoors with your baby in a pram for invigorating walks.
     
  • Find a postnatal buggy fitness class so that you are outdoors with other new mums with whom you can have a chat, share your worries, have a laugh, and even squeeze in a bit of exercise…
     
  • Invite a friend or two round to your house and you can do my online postnatal Pilates together every week. If you make it a sociable event you will feel so much better.

Make sure you get a copy of my FREE guide on how to keep exercise safe in the post natal period - you can download it from the top right hand corner of my page on post natal exercise.

Socialising and postnatal depression


Becoming a mother is not only a huge shock to the system but it can also be a very isolating experience. You were probably in a work environment before you had your baby, sharing an office, interacting with lots of people. Now you find yourself at home dealing with this tiny little human being who is dependent on you. As a new mother it is incredibly important to build a network of supportive friends around you.
If you are suffering from postnatal depression it is all the more important to make sure that you get out and about with friends, whether it be for walks together, a cuppa and a chat, a post natal exercise class or one of the many fantastic baby classes on offer. Try out what’s on offer and then choose the activities which are best for YOU and which make YOU feel better, rather than choosing the activities which you imagine your baby most needs. remember that to get rid of your postnatal depression you need to put yourself first. Try and put in place a weekly schedule that gets you out of the house into sociable environments so that you don’t find yourself alone for long periods of time.

 

Socialising will help alleviate postnatal depression


Do please join my friendly FREE Community where you will meet lots of other lovely mums, many of whom will have gone through similar experiences to yours. You can join towards the top right hand side of this page. You will also find that my facebook page is very chatty, friendly and supportive, so do join me there too.

Diet and postnatal depression


Eating a healthy balanced diet can have an enormously positive effect on your sense of wellbeing. Here are some top foods to help you combat postnatal depression:

 

  • Wholegrain cereals such as oats, brown rice, wholemeal bread and pasta, barley and rye provide you with B-complex vitamins to help combat stress which feeds into postnatal depression.
    • Here’s a quick idea: for breakfast mix a handful of raw oats with natural live yogurt, a chopped banana and some pumpkin seeds.
  • Green leafy vegetables such as kale, spring greens, chard and spinach give you magnesium, a much-needed nutrient for the stressed nervous system.
    • Here’s a quick idea: steam some leafy greens of your choice, cook some wholemeal pasta. Mix the greens and pasta together with pesto and a handful of fresh basil leaves. Basil helps relieve fatigue.
  • Zinc is important, especially if you are breastfeeding, and low levels are often associated with fatigue and depression. You’ll find zinc in shrimps, cheese, wholemeal bread, eggs, sardines and pumpkin seeds.
    • Here’s a quick idea: have a couple of boiled eggs with wholemeal bread for breakfast.

Don’t bottle it up


Just remember that a problem shared is a problem halved: go to the GP, speak to your family, tell your friends, share your thoughts on the forum. Everyone will want to take you by the hand and help you make your way towards that pinprick of light at the end of the tunnel. One day, your postnatal depression will be a distant bad memory.

 

Remember that exercise has been shown to help improve mild to moderate postnatal depression. My online postnatal fitness and wellbeing programme is designed not only to keep you fit and healthy but also to connect you with other new mums so that you can support each other via the forum and on my friendly facebook page.

How about giving it a go for FREE and seeing how you find it?

 

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PND & exercise
It is a horrible thing to be feeling so low, especially when everyone around you expects you to feel happy because you've just had a baby. Here are some useful contacts for you.


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