Maternal Mental Health: How to Protect Yourself as a New Mother

19 May, 2022 | admin | No Comments

Maternal Mental Health: How to Protect Yourself as a New Mother

Maternal Mental Health: How to Protect Yourself as a New Mother
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  • 1 in 5 new mothers are affected by some kind of mental health disorder.

    did you know? Each year 800,000 new mothers are affected by a maternal mental health disorder in the US. Although one in five new mothers will be affected, only 25 per cent get treatment, of which 75 per cent go away without professional evaluation.

    According to the World Health Organization, worldwide, 10 to 20% of women who have just given birth will experience a mental health condition. According to the CDC, in the US, while one in eight women report symptoms of depression after giving birth, more than 50% of pregnant women with depression are not treated.

    “While mental health in general is becoming more widely discussed and accepted in popular culture – look at the reaction of brave athletes like Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles, who spoke out about their mental health – there is still a stigma. Which can prevent many people from getting treatment and support when they are struggling,” explains the maternal mental health specialist and chief medical officer. Lifestance Health doctor Anisha Patel-Dunni,

    “For new moms, the chaos, stress, and expectations associated with the early months of motherhood can often trigger mental health concerns that feel wrong during an exciting and joyous time,” she adds.

    Add the year of lockdown to the mix and – yes, you guessed it – it’s no surprise that many mental health practitioners are currently seeing an increase in both the severity and frequency of cases. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused social isolation for many – but Specially For new moms who had to give birth in a hospital bed alone.

    That’s why we spoke to Patel-Dunn. Here, she shares her wisdom, explains why maternal mental health issues need to be addressed more, plus her five top tips for the new mom or mum to keep her mental health in check during such a change. eager to protect.

    remember: You’re not alone.

    Maternal mental health: how to protect your well-being as a new mother

    Also known as maternal mental health, this phrase is primarily used to describe a woman’s mental state during pregnancy and the first year after birth, shares Patel-Dunn.

    “All women can experience mental health conditions during this time, and it is important to remember that maternal mental health has no face,” she adds. “One’s internal experience may be different from what they are externally presented, and each person’s individual experience will be very unique.”

    Symptoms of a maternal mental health problem

    Aka, if you’re struggling with your mental health as a new mother, what are the main symptoms you might be experiencing? There is a whole range of mental health disorders that you can face, from depression to anxiety, from PTSD to trauma.

    As a new mother, it is very common to experience a range of emotions after your baby is born, shares Patel-Dunn. This includes:

    • the sadness
    • Loneliness
    • Worry

    “You may have heard these feelings sometimes referred to as the baby blues,” Patel-Dunn continues.

    If you’re having trouble taking care of yourself or your baby or getting through the day, you may be experiencing a more serious condition called postpartum depression. Symptoms of postpartum depression may include:

    • feeling hopeless
    • feeling helpless
    • questioning your ability to care for your newborn
    • low sense of self
    • low self-esteem
    • inability to sleep
    • difficulty concentrating.

    Again, Patel-Dunn emphasizes here that everyone’s mental health experiences will be different. “Whether you’re experiencing mild or severe symptoms, reaching out for help and support is extremely important,” she stresses.

    Perinatal mental health: happy baby-bearing mom

    maternal mental health resources

    Know this – Patel-Dunn wants all new moms to feel encouraged enough to ask for help when they need it.

    “There are all kinds of resources—both virtual and in-person—that can help, no matter what you’re going through,” she explains.

    1. Don’t be afraid

    Patel-Dunn’s first suggestion: Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

    “It could be a loved one, a friend, or a family member,” she explains. “Just remember, if you need help making an appointment with a mental health provider they won’t mind providing support.”

    found it? You are not a burden, so don’t talk yourself into thinking you are the one.

    2. Use Local Support Groups

    Once you’re open about what you’re going through, Patel-Dunn says that finding a supportive community for those recovering from a maternal mental health condition can be very beneficial.

    “A great place to start is looking for local online support groups or help hotlines in your area,” she shares.

    Not sure where to start? For helpful resources and generally more information, try the following:

    3. Talk to a Qualified Professional

    OK, so you talked to your partner/friend/family member, and then read about the thousands of other women around the world who are happening to you.

    Next up: It’s time to check in with a professional so they can help you decide on the best course of action. “A licensed therapist can help you understand and overcome mental health conditions,” explains Patel-Dunn.

    Our guide to online therapy and the best mental health apps currently available can help.

    4. Try Medication

    Medication won’t be for everyone, and you should only opt for meds if your doctor has prescribed them, but often, they can also help with sleep problems, anxiety issues, and symptoms of depression, explains health professionals. Huh.

    5. Prioritize Self-Care

    Patel-Dunn explains that it can be difficult for new moms and future moms to find time to prioritize self-care.

    However, it is a very important step in supporting your overall mental health, she stresses. Why? Well, because ‘by taking care of your mental health, you’ll be able to better manage stress when it does arise,’ she explains. Plus, ‘you’ll have an overall better quality of life.’

    Read our guide to the best self-care ideas—that are completely free! Now if you need a little inspiration on that front.

    And before you go, know this: Just as postpartum physical recovery is different for every mother, mental health can look different too, experts say. They conclude, “The best way to end the stigma around mental health conditions affecting new mothers is to encourage frank conversation about what mental health looks like and bring awareness to the diversity of experiences.”

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