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How to Help Her Through the Baby Blues and PPD

Approximately eight out of every 10 women experience the baby blues during the first two to three weeks postpartum and about 10 percent of new moms experience postpartum depression (PPD), a more severe form of depression that can last for months or even years and can become debilitating and dangerous. It can be frustrating and scary to watch your wife or girlfriend suffer with the baby blues or PPD, unable to make her feel better. But you can help her by being aware of the signs and symptoms and knowing where to find those who know what to do.

Baby Blues first appear three to four days after birth and usually last two to three weeks before resolving on their own. Symptoms include:

  • Crying spells

  • Mood swings

  • Irritability

  • Loss of appetite

Postpartum Depression may occur anytime during the first few weeks to first year after birth. Many of the symptoms mirror the Baby Blues, but are more intense and longer lasting. Additional symptoms indicative of PPD include:

  • Insomnia or extreme fatigue

  • Anxiety

  • Lack of interest in the baby or irrational concern over the baby

  • Feeling overwhelmed or hopeless

  • Retreating from physical and/or social contact; isolating

  • Severe depression

If you think your wife or girlfriend is experiencing PPD, it is vital you get her professional help as soon as possible. Do not wait for her to ask for help; she may not be able to. And do not wait for symptoms to get worse; she needs help now. If you notice these signs, talk to her about it. Ask her how she is feeling and what she is feeling. Tell her you think she is depressed and you want to help her. Call her obstetrician or contact a psychiatrist, therapist or other mental health professional.

In addition to getting your wife or girlfriend professional psychiatric help, you can play a big role in helping her to adjust to her new role as mom.

  • Tell her you love her, it's not her fault, the baby loves her and that together, you'll get through this.

  • Step up around the house. Take care of as many of the chores around the house as you can so she doesn't get bogged down even more. Take the baby for periods of time to give her a break and time to rest.

  • Attend doctor appointments with her so you can ask questions and fill in any information that she can't.

  • Find a PPD support group in your area. If your wife or girlfriend is not willing or able to attend meetings, you should still go. They will provide information, support and resources that will help you help her.

  • Be patient. Recovery can take time.

A postpartum mom needs your reassurance, affection without the expectation of sex, support, and above all your love.

For more information, support and resources, check out the Postpartum Support International website.



Featured Sites:

Cord Blood Registry
March of Dimes
Susan G. Komen

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