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Home Parenting Pregnancy & Baby Postpartum Hormones

Postpartum Hormones

postpartum-horomonesUps and Downs of Becoming a Mother, Likely Caused by Hormones.

If you’ve just had a baby and find that you are elated one moment and then distraught with a flood of tears the next, don’t despair.  Like countless other new moms, you are most likely experiencing a case of postpartum anxiety.  Typical characteristics of this emotional roller coaster include a tendency to be overly teary, changes in appetite, irritability, nervousness, worrying constantly about being a mother and other generalized moodiness.  What causes postpartum hormones to develop into a case of the baby blues?

Postpartum Hormones Normally Pass with Time

What exactly causes the baby blues?  Typically the condition is linked to hormonal changes that usually occur a few days after delivery.  This is the time that milk production kicks in and the hormones that occur during pregnancy begin to disperse.  It can be likened to an anti-climax once the birth has taken place—a coming down of sorts.  The physical and emotional enormity of giving birth and the realization of being a mother especially hit home once the new mother leaves the hospital, which is when frustrating postpartum hormonesoften overload the new mom’s system, causing anxiety and stress.

How Long Does Postpartum Depression Last?

You are certainly not alone, as this condition affects between 60 to 80 percent of women, leaving them utterly exhausted, unable to sleep as well. New moms also report feelings of fear and restlessness.  Luckily for most women, these symptoms won't last longer than a few days, and with the majority feeling better within a week or two of becoming a new mother.  For others, the situation may be more serious, as they feel sad for much longer than most.  Remember that suddenly having a new baby can be overwhelming emotionally and that it is normal to have some fears.  In rare cases, women have been known to become so downhearted that they have attempted suicide or even harmed their newborn baby.  Luckily this doesn’t happen often and is extremely rare.  But if the negative emotions persist for more than a couple of weeks, seek professional help as you may be suffering a major depression brought on by postpartum hormones.

How to Treat Postpartum Depression

There is evidence that those women with a history of depression, little social support, low self-esteem and a taxing pregnancy are more likely to suffer postpartum depression.  This is one of the main reasons that expectant mothers must be treated with care and respect, both during pregnancy and after the birth.  Support from family and friends helps tremendously.  Remember though, that women suffering from postpartum hormonal changes may not appreciate the help as chances are they will view your assistance as intrusive.  Tread lightly and make yourself available in other ways, if this is the case.

If you or someone you know is suffering from postpartum depression, there is help available in the form of antidepressants.  Discuss any concerns with your doctor, as some medications are safe to take even if you are breastfeeding.  Other ways to treat the symptoms of postpartum hormones are to get plenty of sleep, exercise and eat healthy food.  It may be difficult to find time as all new moms know, but if you can add exercise to your daily routine, it has been known to help tremendously.  If the weather permits, try going for a walk with your new baby each morning or afternoon, as the fresh air will do you wonders.