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Postpartum depression: What to look out for, management


POSTPARTUM depression has become a silent killer, which most women and even men face after having a baby especially when they are new parents. When issues arise from the effect of postpartum depression, it is not usually noticed as the new mother may be seen as being cranky or over board.

However, this is a condition that more new mums face, which can be totally managed to avoid extremisms like being suicidal or killing the new born. Mrs. Nkem Adediran-Adedokun is the Chief Executive Officer at Ninekay Maternity and founder of First Time Mums academy. According to her, “Postpartum depression is also referred to as post natal depression. It is a mood disorder that is associated with childbirth; both mums and dads experience it.

“The condition can be minor and fade away within the first two weeks post-delivery while if severe will require medical attention. Indications to a person is suffering from this condition include: Headaches, crankiness, anger for no specific reason, crying, shouting, regrets, sudden irritation when your spouses comes close, thinking that all that is happening to you is your baby and husband’s fault.

“Sometimes, people with this condition feel like running away and refuse to breastfeed their babies as form of punishment for their baby crying. It is normal to feel two or three of these signs immediately after delivery because of loss of sleep, delayed breast milk flow, sudden change of your normal routine and If not well managed can even reduce or stop you from lactating.”

Mrs. Adediran-Adedokun noted that it is worse for first time moms as there is no experience in caring for a new born. “Every new mom has her own experience and I will share mine. In my first two pregnancies, I felt fat and unattractive. I was always cranky and angry for no reason. I wanted more out of every thing. I was tired at work and exhausted coming home to care for my three year old and infant and to crown it all, go to work the next day, I was in bank marketing. There were days I just wanted to run away or even be sick so I can be admitted in the hospital so I will be the one been taken care of.

“This is not to scare you but to make you aware of this possibility and work towards preventing or controlling it. To handle this situation before the baby comes, you have to start now by organising all those things around you that may be additional stress to you, get someone who will assist you when you deliver, organise your home, from food and sanitaries, get at least 90 per cent ready two weeks to your Expected Delivery Date.

“It is very important to get adequate rest and you have to be selfish about it; relax physically, emotionally and mentally before delivery. Ensure your hospital bag in packed at your 36th week. Treat yourself to a fun photo-shoot and massage; go to a professional spa that can handle a pregnant woman. Go out with your friends; just be determined to have fun.

“Then when baby comes, try not to get worked up because lack of sleep will make you cranky and may even cause a fever. This is normal and will pass if you have a clear mindset. I am not saying it won’t get to you but be determined to come out strong. Filter all the advices and recommendations that will be flying in if you get confused.

“Again, you must find time to sleep. If you have help, express breast milk and allow your mother, mother in-law or nanny feed your baby while you catch some sleep. Lack of sleep increases the likelihood of getting depressed after childbirth. Take it one step at a time, no rushing. Don’t allow anyone put you under undue pressure. Work at getting your figure back too by having a healthy lifestyle. Involve your spouse especially at night to help rock baby to sleep.

“Finally, don’t be shy or afraid to seek medical or professional help. You should understand that this situation is not peculiar to you. It doesn’t make you less of a woman or mother but it sure makes you a brave mom who wants the best for herself and baby.”

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