Pregnancy tips for the fourth trimester
Exercise • • 1 minute to read • By INFS Faculty
Author- Asmita Shah
Psychology of the Post Natal Journey
A woman has spent days, weeks, months, even years, mentally and physically preparing herself for this day. The baby has arrived... So, what's next? Everything is about to change!
- Attachment: Change in the immediate environment, such as the partner, siblings, and family. More attention to newborn babies.
- Identity: Thoughts about parenting, child, work-life balance, identity! Hormones in the Body.
- Emotions: Anxieties and thoughts persist and intensify during this phase!
What to expect after the delivery?
According to one study done by Fenaroli et al(2019), the primary variable that affected the emotional experience of delivery for women was going into labor. Those with higher degrees of fear had more negative emotional reactions to delivery. Other factors investigated include mode of birth, the level of care provided in the healthcare system, level of care post-birth, etc.
Many women's birth stories are wonderful and uplifting, for some, it's different and traumatic.
Traumatic births are underrepresented in studies, with little to no assistance offered shortly following birth.
Traumatic birth rates are commonly reported in research to be between 20 and 30 percent, and they do not appear to differ by country. This figure, though, is likely to be substantially higher. There is no specific explanation of "traumatic delivery," and a woman must meet a certain set of criteria/symptoms to be diagnosed with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Baby Blues or Postnatal Depression
The baby blues are emotions of sadness that a woman may experience in the days following the birth of her child. Although becoming a mother is a happy occasion but the joy of having a new baby might be overwhelmed by emotions of despair and mood fluctuations. It is also known as postpartum blues. It affects 50-80% of new mothers of any color, age, socioeconomic status, cultural background, or educational attainment. The majority of women experience symptoms like changes in mood, irritability, anxiety, feeling like crying, and loneliness post-childbirth. These symptoms tend to be resolved in 1-2 weeks postpartum. If the same feeling persists for more than 2 weeks, consult with the healthcare provider.
How does Postnatal Depression differ from Baby Blues?
Postnatal Depression has a set of "diagnostic criteria." To put it another way, these are the warning indicators to look out for:
- Lack of ability to cope up
- Feeling sad and anxious
- Constant overthinking and worrying
- Feelings of loneliness and vulnerability
- No interest in newborn baby
- Finding it more difficult to do everyday duties
- Appetite and sleep changes (beyond sleep deprivation).
- No Social gatherings
- Loss of focus – seeming "spaced out"
- When discussing the baby/family, there is a lack of emotional response.
- Suicidal thoughts or feelings.
Risk and Protective Factors
While there is nothing a woman can do to avoid postpartum depression and anxiety, there are things she may do to lower risk factors and improve protective factors. The following are some of the risk factors:
- History of depression and anxiety.
- Family Mental Illness in the past
- Previous Setbacks
- Complicated Pregnancy
- Trauma During Childbirth
- Premature Baby
- Feeding and settling difficulties
- Lack of sleep
- Pre-existing medical conditions
- Relationship Stress
- Financial Stress
There is no one factor that causes Postnatal depression but there are connected dots. Hormona changes, physical changes, stress, sleepless nights, less confidence, and less attention from loved ones are believed to contribute to the problem.
How to help?
There are a variety of resources available to women who are having difficulties in the postpartum period of motherhood.
- Social Support: Having social support is very important at this stage. Normalize talking about mental health. Fitness Classes, Parenting classes, Baby Time, and Facebook groups are all examples of social inclusion. Be a joiner.
- Self-care: Schedule self-care sessions on a regular basis. Don’t compromise on your sleep. Go for walks, and spend some quality time with yourself. Soak up some sunshine. Practice mindfulness session.
- Support Networks: During this period, have 1-2 persons who can be there as "rock." Connect with the partner. Talk to someone. Avoid isolating yourself in times like these.
- Healthy Diet: Allow yourself to indulge in a variety of healthful meals. Make a conscious effort not to rely on booze and junk food. Make healthy living your priority.
- Positive thinking, such as positive affirmations and feedback, is quite effective.
- Therapy: Consult a specialist if there is a need. A qualified therapist can assist in effectively adjusting to parenthood.
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