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After Baby is Born: Postpartum Depression and Relationships

Between 10% and 20% of new mothers experience postpartum depression.

Treating Perinatal Mood Disorders continued...

What will happen when you reach out for counseling and treatment? There are multiple options for treating perinatal mood disorders.

  • Medication. Many women who experience perinatal mood disorders, like Tina Merritt, find significant relief from antidepressant medication. Women who want to breastfeed should talk with their doctor about the best antidepressants for their situation.
  • Counseling and group therapy. Counselors can help you with specific techniques for dealing with your particular symptoms, such as relaxation techniques for women who often feel anxious, and “thought-stopping” for obsessive negative thoughts.
  • Establishing a support system. Friends help, especially other new mothers who have empathy for what you’re going through.
  • Lifestyle interventions. Improving nutrition and getting sufficient sleep can lessen symptoms.

And, couples must remember to care for one another while in treatment for postpartum depression.

“Stress so easily turns into ‘You’re not taking care of me, so the hell with you.’ This is not going to get you what you need,” Kleiman says. “Tend to your relationship. Embrace it. Take care of each other. One of the best ways to meet your own needs is to take care of your partner’s needs. It makes them feel better, and it enables them to do a better job taking care of you.”

Reviewed on June 08, 2009

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