The postpartum hormonal changes which cause postpartum blues cannot be prevented but you can definitely make effort to prevent postpartum depression (PPD) from becoming depression of severe kind. Some measures to prevent postpartum depression include:
Basic Steps of Prevention for Every Woman
- Try to reduce the effects of postpartum hormonal changes and stress by maintaining strong body and strong mind.
- Take help from family and friends for child care, and housework so that you can get adequate rest and sleep.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, as they can make mood swings worse.
- Take drugs or medicines after consulting your doctor.
- Talk to your family, friends or spouse about your feelings and concerns don’t isolate yourself.
Prevention Measures for High-Risk Women
Women with history of depression or postpartum depression are at higher risk of postnatal depression. Share it with your doctor. This can help your doctor to monitor you closely for signs and symptoms of depression and formulate a plan to reduce your risk of postpartum depression.
- Women with history of depression who have no depressive symptoms late in the pregnancy, can be monitored. Experts recommend counseling and support before childbirth for women with history of severe depression. If needed your doctor may start antidepressant medicine after the birth to prevent PPD.
- If you have had PPD in previous pregnancy it is recommended that you consult your doctor for counseling and support (some women start counseling a couple of months before childbirth) to prevent PPD in your present pregnancy after childbirth. You should not wait till the symptoms develop. You and your doctor after a discussion can choose a combination of counseling and an antidepressant.
- Depression during pregnancy Women with depression during pregnancy on an antidepressant should continue the medication after childbirth to reduce the risk of postpartum depression.
Experts recommend that mothers should be screened for postpartum depression after childbirth. Frequent screenings for postpartum depression would be best but there is no formal recommendation on how many times a woman should be screened for postpartum depression after childbirth. Currently it is thought that screening mothers for depression at least once — 2 months after birth should be done.
If you suspect you have symptoms of postnatal depression consult your doctor for your symptoms and proper diagnosis.Women with history of depression or PPD are often screened early to detectsigns and symptoms of postpartum depression. Early diagnosis and treatment of postpartum depression can possibly help faster recovery form symptoms of PPD.
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