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What exactly are those baby blues?

It’s nothing that we really like to talk about, but something that we certainly should. About 90 percent of women will have postpartum blues of some sort.

It seems to creep in a few days after birth, and you’ll find yourself crying for no reason, sleeping even worse than you’d expect with a newborn, or truly doubt that you can care for your baby. Most new moms experience this to some degree, but this is just a bit more than you might expect.

So, when should you start worrying that it might be something you need to talk to your doctor about? I get worried when those feelings don’t fade after about a week, or when the new mom doesn’t seem to be functioning well.

It can worsen to a full postpartum depression, and this is where you have really strong feelings of despair, sadness and anxiety and can’t accomplish routine daily tasks that normally wouldn’t be a big deal. I also pay attention to times when moms are overly concerned about their baby, especially when they wake up and routinely check on the baby. This is an unknown but common sign of postpartum depression.

There are a few things that make the baby blues and depression worse. Moms without a good support network, either by friends or family are at increased risk. Ironically, breastfeeding can worsen it especially if there are problems with good milk production. Our society is pushing breastfeeding so hard, that when it doesn’t work out, it makes moms feel even more guilty and adds to the stress of a new baby.

Ways to keep the baby blues and depression at bay include getting as much sleep as possible. Try to let others help – they usually want to, and it seems new moms aren’t always used to asking for or receiving help. Talk with others and your support network.

New moms don’t have to be alone. Try to take 15 minutes to yourself. Even sitting quietly in a room helps bring down stress. And finally, if things don’t seem right, talk to your doctor. We’re here to help.

About Melissa Koehler, DO

Melissa D. Koehler, DO, MBA, provides comprehensive obstetric and gynecological services and performs minimally invasive laparoscopic surgeries including laparoscopic hysterectomies.

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