New Help for Moms with Postpartum Depression
There’s nothing quite like pregnancy or a baby for bringing out a sense of wonder in people. New mothers may be sleep-deprived, but it’s generally believed that this is one of the happiest times of their life.
Dr. Ariel Dalfen with When Baby Brings the Blues: Solutions for Postpartum Depresson
However, the joy is not universal: one in five women develops a depressive illness during pregnancy or after childbirth that leaves her feeling isolated, distressed and unable to cope.
A new book written by perinatal psychiatrist Dr. Ariel Dalfen offers insights, self-help solutions and hope for women with postpartum depression (PPD). Dr. Dalfen’s work in Mount Sinai’s Perinatal Mental Health Program was the inspiration for When Baby Brings the Blues: Solutions for Postpartum Depresson.
“I see patients every day who have postpartum depression and I felt there was a real need for more up-to-date information, and more actionable information,” says Dr. Dalfen. “By that, I mean ways for people to take control.”
Another goal was to debunk the myths that can prevent people from recognizing the problem and seeking help. According to Dr. Dalfen, some of the enduring myths surrounding PPD are:
- Feeling badly is a normal part of being a new mom
- If I tell anyone how I feel they’ll take my baby away
- A new mom who isn’t coping well can and should just pull herself together
- There’s no safe treatment for PPD
“Postpartum depression is very scary for new mothers,” says Dr. Dalfen. “Patients come to Mount Sinai’s program because they aren’t getting any pleasure from their baby or there’s a major downturn in how they feel. Sometimes, partners or other family members will insist a new mom gets help because she does not seem like her normal self or is having trouble caring for herself or the baby.”
The good news is that there is a high remission rate among women who seek treatment for PPD.
“Treatment varies,” says Dr. Dalfen. “If it’s mild, there are a lot of self-help solutions, such as getting more help and support, changing sleep patterns and talk therapy. For more severe cases, medication is usually needed for a time.”
The sooner treatment is sought, the sooner a new mom can begin to experience the full range of emotions that come with having a child, including joy.
Find more informationon on pregnancy and postpartum mood disorders.
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Symptoms of pregnancy and postpartum mood disorders include:
- Feeling depressed and/or irritable much of the time
- Bouts of crying
- Sleep disturbances
- Loss of appetite
- Anxiety, panic attacks
- Avoiding going out
- Frightening fantasies