Joyful Beginnings: What a mother really needs during the postnatal period

Do you know?

PND is a mental condition that affects about 10 to 15% of women in Singapore. It brings about serious consequences for both mother and child.

Do you know?

Support buffers against Postnatal Depression and aids in recovery of the mood disorder.

Being a mom of two kids, Postnatal Depression (PND) is a very relevant issue. I have seen some cases of PND and have witnessed the plight of those new moms. RainbowDiaries would love to share with other moms more about PND. Read on to find out more.

What is Postnatal Depression?

Postnatal Depression (PND) is a mood disorder that affects mothers after childbirth. Between 10 and 15% of mothers who recently delivered will be affected by PND, ranging from mild to severe intensity, and usually develops within the first 3 to 6 months after delivery (though it may have a delayed onset anytime during the first year after delivery). If left untreated, it will affect not only the mother’s well-being, but also the emotional and cognitive development of the child. Mothers with PND are more likely to see themselves as bad and unloving, making it hard for them to care for their babies.
Pregnancy is a period that can bring on worrying changes in the psyche of a woman, as she navigates a dramatic transition within herself. If there is inadequate support and help, it may be even harder for mothers to adjust to the changes. In addition to that, the lack of sleep in the initial weeks and hormonal changes can all be overwhelming.

Common Symptoms and Signs:

  • Low mood, tearfulness
  • Irritability
  • Poor sleep and appetite
  • Loss of interest, confidence
  • Feeling guilty for no good reason
  • Feeling hopeless or even suicidal in severe depression

Accompanying anxiety symptoms:

  • Feeling tense, excessive worries Palpitations, feeling breathless, chest tightness
  • Panic attacks – strong feelings of terror that come suddenly
  • Unpleasant thoughts about harm coming to your baby or family

Risk Factors

  • Marital discord
  • Lack of social support
  • Unplanned pregnancy
  • Obstetric complications e.g. traumatic birth experience
  • Infant health problems
  • Hereditary causes – the women being at increased risk if her mother or sister have had PND

Treatment methods

With early recognition and treatment, chance of recovery from PND can be good. The goal for early detection and treatment enables mothers to have a wonderful experience of caring for their baby.

SUPPORT AND COUNSELLING :

Mild PND can be treated via support and counselling, which may be provided by family physicians, or family and friends. If your depression is at least of moderate severity, you should consult a specialist for treatment.

MEDICATION :

When the depression is more severe, medication may be required. The choice of medication will take into consideration the possible side effects as well as your particular needs, especially if you intend to breastfeed. If you are pregnant and have had depression during your last pregnancy, please seek early advice. If the previous episode of depression has been particularly severe, you may consider taking prophylactic antidepressants as the risk of a relapse during a subsequent pregnancy can be as high as 50%.

THERAPY :

Psychological treatments such as interpersonal therapy which focuses on interpersonal relationships, and cognitive-behavioural therapy which addresses faulty thinking and patterns of behaviour, can be considered.

SUPPORT GROUPS :

Support groups provide an avenue for mothers to talk about their diffIculties, learn coping strategies from one another, and benefIt from the realisation that they are not alone in this journey

Nutrition tips for a healthy postnatal diet

A mother’s body has undergone many changes during and after pregnancy, thus it is important to maintain a healthy diet to accelerate healing and recovery. Having a healthy diet also gives a mother more energy to take care of her baby and herself. To maximise the benefit of breast milk, nursing mothers must practice good nutrition so that good nutrients can be passed on to the baby.

RECOMMENDED DIET & SUPPLEMENTS

Low-fat dairy products, Beans & Peas, Leafy Greens

Having adequate calcium is especially important for breastfeeding mothers, otherwise calcium deposited in the bones will be withdrawn for milk production. Even when a mother is not breastfeeding, having a good amount of calcium intake is essential for healthier bones and teeth.

Red Meat, Fish & Egg

Lean proteins fills one up more than carbohydrates.They are also rich in iron and vitamin B12 which are helpful in increasing energy levels. Do choose the lean cuts of the meat so that there will not be excess saturated fats consumed.

Water, Milk, Fruit Juices (Prune Juice for extra iron intake!)

In order to satisfy thirst and prevent constipation, adequate fluid intake is always important, especially for mothers who are currently breastfeeding. Increased fluid intake also helps in weight loss and improves lactation during breastfeeding.

Whole grains

Increasing fibre intake is good for gut health.

FEEL LIKE HAVING A SNACK?

Try some of these healthier snacks but do eat in moderation:

● Whole-grain crackers

● Peanut butter served with apple

● Plain Greek yogurt with an extra cup of berries

● Nuts

 

♥ For any woman, when she is going through any emotional or physical turbulence, the most most vital factor is to get a shoulder of her partner to lean. This is even more true for PND. ♥

Importance of Partner Support

Partner support was perceived by PND patients to be among the top contributing factors in their recovery. According to Dr Theresa Lee, Senior Consultant from the Department of Psychological Medicine at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, “Coping with mood disorders alone is extremely difficult and having an understanding partner who provides emotional comfort and physical involvement would help the mother tremendously. Even for mothers who are not depressed, support will help to buffer against the likely stresses in the postnatal period.”

CONSISTENT COMMUNICATION:

Communication starts even before the baby comes. Upon marriage, it is important to talk about family planning so that both parties have an idea of each other’s expectations about parenthood. Everyone has different parenting styles depending on their own upbringing and culture. For example, if the husband was brought up in an environment where his mother did everything, he might feel that it is normal for his wife to take charge of things in the household. However, the wife may feel that childcare is a partnership and hence conflict may arise from the different expectations within the couple. Communication is important and it should be an ongoing process.

CREATING NEW ROUTINES:

Having a baby is an adjustment for both the father and mother as they will have less time for themselves, and a baby to look after. For instance, many parents with a career who are used to going on business trips and having time for themselves may feel that having a baby has turned their lives topsy turvy. Hence, it is important for both parents to adapt and get used to a new routine. Together, parents have to work out how are they going to adjust to this new life, new changes they need to make, and new routines they have to get familiar with.

Individual Time: Making changes to lifestyles do not mean that both parents should give up time for themselves. This is a give and take situation where couples need to give each other some personal space. Often we hear women talk about how their husbands still go out for social activities while she is cooped at home all the time. Mothers should learn to allocate time for themselves as well, such as spending an hour with girlfriends on weekends. It is necessary for both parties to have their personal space and time to enjoy the activities that they like and to have a break from baby care.

Couple Time: Couples can attempt to work out a schedule amongst themselves to ensure sufficient couple time. For example, many couples would visit their parents’ homes with their children on weekends. If their parents are able to care for the baby, the couple can make plans to leave the baby for an hour and enjoy couple time. It may be difficult, but it is strongly encouraged that parents actively make couple time a reality. Otherwise, it tends to be forgotten. Simple things like dining out, catching a movie together or even snuggling together after putting the baby to sleep and talking about what happened in the day could be some ways that couples can sneak in some time together


This post is in collaboration of Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University’s final year students. Joyful Beginnings is a health communications campaign to raise awareness on Postnatal Depression (PND), and the importance of partner support, to achieve mental well-being in young parents.

The video was produced in line with Joyful Beginnings’ aim to raise awareness about PND amongst young parents in Singapore, as well as the importance of support during the postnatal period, which will help buffer against the likelihood of falling into PND. Joyful Beginnings is a health communications campaign by a group of Nanyang Technological University undergraduates for their final-year project.

https://www.facebook.com/JoyfulBeginningsSG/videos/1024292781036342/

In collaboration with National University Hospital and KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Mental Wellness Booklet is also released. The booklet can be found at: http://bit.ly/postnatal-mental-wellness

Since the launch of the campaign in January, Joyful Beginnings has been posting educational content about PND, real-life stories and sharing from other mothers through its digital platform regularly. Learn more about Joyful Beginnings at https://www.facebook.com/JoyfulBeginningsSG/


So lets all play our part to raise the awareness about Post-Natal Depression and help those who are suffering from PND. Do watch and share the video, download the mental wellness booklet and like Joyful Beginnings on Facebook.

 

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11 comments on “Joyful Beginnings: What a mother really needs during the postnatal period”

  1. Tiffany Yong Reply

    I’m not married yet, but this is definitely an article I should show my boyfriend to prep him for the situation when I get pregnant. Most guys overlook the seriousness of this case and by the time they realised it, it’s too late~

  2. MinhNguyen Reply

    I used to know a friend who had depression after birth. She and her family struggled to cure it. I would most like the husband to care about the mothers after birth because that period is the most sensitive period.

  3. GD Blog Reply

    I love the informative way of explaining Postnatal Depression. This is a real thing to be taken care of and therapies in any form from professionals to our loved ones will really be a big help for them.

    -Gerome of G&D Blog
    http://www.gdblog.net

  4. Beola Lawal Reply

    Thank you for this post, postnatal depression is real and can really damage the life of a mom if not properly taking care of. This post was very detailed and informative.

  5. Ana Vukosavljevic Reply

    I heard a lot of postnatal depresion. Mom of my boyfriend got throught it and it was really hard! I’m sure these tips will help to all new moms out there and I hope they will find this post!

  6. Preet@thevelvetlife Reply

    That sounds like something which is so important but ignored most of the times. I remember when I had both my deliveries, there is a separate well-qualified support system who deal with post natal depressions and mental health, who keeps in touch with you about how you are doing and feeling.

  7. Corinne and Kirsty Reply

    I have heard a lot of postnatal depression. My mum had it after she had me. My dad had to get to work right after and she had hard time facing it all by herself. Your tips will be super useful for new moms!

  8. Pingback: Thanks for featuring us, Joyful Beginnings! – RainbowDiaries – Colors of Life

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