8 ways to Take care of Mental Health Post Pregnancy
Post partum period which lasts for six to eight weeks after delivery can be pretty challenging for mothers both physically and mentally. This is because of the rapid transit of hormonal changes they undergo during this period. Along with this they also wake up at untimely hours to feed and put the baby to sleep. Post partum blues and depression are real and frequent women end up with. All of them need to be managed in a multi disciplinary basis throughout the period. Here are some ways to get over these mental concerns during these times:
- Moral Support and Family – This can have a huge positive impact on the well being of both the mother and the child. Frequent reassurance and lending a hand to help her with daily chores can ease the process of handling the post partum blues. If physical presence isn’t possible at least frequent voice calls and video conversations can still help the mother share her day-to-day concerns.
- Meditation and Yoga– It is completely understandable that the mother finds it impossible to find time to meditate while leading a hurly burly life after pregnancy but trust me that’s when this component is needed the most. There is this saying “our mind is like water, when it is turbulent it’s difficult to see through and when it’s calm everything becomes clear”. Spending 10 to 15 minutes to practice a very simple form of meditation like closing your eyes and taking deep breaths can definitely decrease anxiety and stress in the long term. Yoga is one the most effective ways of regulating both body and mind. Although it becomes increasingly difficult for women post pregnancy to do intense energy requiring exercises, a mild form of easy yoga can still help.
- Sleep Well – This might sound impossible but it is essential during the entire period. The circadian rhythm can be deeply affected while taking care of the new born child. However, it is possible to sleep whenever you find time. It doesn’t have to be only during the nights. A new born sleeps around 19 hours a day and why won’t it be possible for an adult to take 8 hours out these 19 hours to get a good nap?! It’s advisable to not be very rigid about the sleeping hours during this time.
- Have a Balanced Diet – If you think nutrition has no role in maintaining sound mental health, you’re wrong! According to an international survey, it’s been proven that malnutrition has been an important influencing factor for deteriorating mental health for the mother and physical health for both the mother and child. Malnutrition does not only mean less food intake but also not taking the right amount of nutritional distribution in your diet. This can’t be changed overnight as women during this period are more vulnerable to binge eating. So, it is always better to have a healthy diet from day 1 of delivery of the baby. Fish oils rich in omega 3 fatty acids are proven to reduce stress and anxiety in mothers.
- Hydrate Well – Amidst the chaotic routine mothers undergo they often forget to hydrate themselves regularly. Many women end up drinking less than 700ml of water per day which can attribute to the early physical and mental exhaustion. Water has multiple benefits on the body from maintaining the skin to the balancing the level of electrolytes in the serum. Deranged electrolytes can also result in distressful symptoms. It is advisable to drink at least 2 litres of water per day and this can also enhance breastfeeding the child.
- New onset body dysmorphism – This could be an obsessive thought revolving in the minds of many women post pregnancy. This has been aggravated by social media in the recent times because women end up comparing themselves to the posts that run through various social media platforms and have a distressing sense of inferiority. What they fail to realise is pregnancy is a phase that warrants these changes in the body and almost no one can escape these bodily alterations. Women can be the best mentors for themselves during these times. It’s important to repeat the mantra “it’s okay!” very often.
- Uncalled Advice – relatives and parents have their own set of opinions while raising a child. Sometimes the new mother ends up getting too much of them and this makes it difficult for her make decisions even in the smallest of things. It is important for the mother to frame her own set of ideologies after getting inputs from the people she is close to. This can be an easier and less stressful way to raise a child from start.
- Medical Attention – Many women fail to do this as they concentrate too much on the baby’s well being. Mental health of the mother is equally important during this process and if she is not able to cope up with the stress and if she is out of resources to fix it then she needs to consult a therapist or a psychiatrist. Professional advice which also involves counselling the other family members can definitely ease the situation.
Motherhood is rewarding but can be burdensome at times especially during the initial days. However, if a woman can channelize their action plan in the right direction with adequate support and help, she can definitely get over the mental distress in the long run.