As many of you could probably guess, postpartum mood issues range from mild – severe. Mild to moderate postpartum mood can be supported at home with some simple steps. These are tools you can use before you even have symptoms and then you add in the next step if you begin to feel worse. Thats pretty much the premise of my whole postpartum success plan…. Just work on up.
I am passionate about talking to clients about making a plan for their postpartum during their pregnancy. Its something we cover at our scheduled prenatal visits or through my Postpartum Consultation Services. Its better to have a plan and not need it than not have one at all right?
- Tip: Remember to ride out the first week postpartum, as its completely normal to feel Baby blues. After the first week, begin to watch for symptoms.
Make a Postpartum Success Plan
These tips listed below can be implemented into a plan for your postpartum success. Think of these tips as step one on your journey to postpartum bliss.
My midwife taught me a teared approach to combat Postpartum Mood issues that starts with easy things to do on a daily or weekly basis and then you work up, adding in more help as needed. At the bottom of the plan are the little things like eating, drinking water, and getting exercise. At the top are things like therapy, then medication and then hospitalization or a trip to the emergency room for moderate to severe mood issues. Ideally this is a plan that is outlined in pregnancy, with a partners help. As with labor, sometimes a partner sees a change before the client recognizes it. The plan should include time frames as well as the Who, What, and Where of each step.
- Tip: Your Obstetrician can prescribe a anti-depressant medication if you need it.
- Tip: PTSD is strongly correlated with mood issues and there is a 30% chance that a birther will leave the labor/birth experience with clinically significant symptoms of PTSD.
Because the plan ends with hospitalization, I did take the time recently to interview Dr. Johnson at the Linder Center of Hope. They are a local hospital based resource with a couple ways to help. They have a rapid access program, which offers appointments with a psychiatrist within a few day period so waiting is at a minimum, as well as a temporary stabilization area. Dr. Johnson did remind me that in the case that a mood disorder became so severe that the client was worried they would hurt themselves or others, that the appropriate response is to go to the Emergency room to minimize risk. Let the ER do the work of finding help for you if its at this level.
*Interview with a local therapist who specializes in Perinatal Mood Issues is coming soon!