Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How can pregnant women prepare for the baby blues?

There's no surefire way to prevent the baby blues, but recognizing it as a common, and temporary, state does help. Pregnant women should be screened for risk factors such as personal or family history of mood disorders or depression, significant social stressors, and relationship difficulties. Those with risks should be educated about signs of depression and followed more closely after delivery. Any signs of depression should lead to rapid evaluation and treatment. A mother's depression can affect her newborn's development, so this is crucial. A few studies have looked at preventive hormones or other medications, but it's not clear that any are terribly effective.

One of the best ways to prepare for the baby blues is to plan for help once you go home with your baby. Accept offers for assistance with cleaning, cooking, and running the house. Having company is great, especially if they help, but space out the visits so you have time alone with your baby in between. It's also important to realize that all babies cry and sometimes we just need to cry with them. But if you find yourself not being able to care for yourself or your child, call your healthcare provider immediately.
It's crucial to surround yourself with a support system. Reach out while you're pregnant to women who have been pregnant before, either family or friends. Plan to join a postpartum group to share stories and trade helpful ideas. If you wait until after your baby's born, you may find it difficult to reach out for help once you're feeling overwhelmed and isolated. It's also important to set realistic expectations for yourself and those around you. Don't expect to be the perfect parent or for your partner to be the perfect daddy.

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