Understanding Postpartum Depression -- Prevention
How Can I Prevent Postpartum Depression?
Because postpartum depression (PPD) may be related to fluctuation of hormones after childbirth, prevention may not be possible. However, several approaches may help guard against the condition. One of the best things to do is learn as much as you can about what to expect physically and psychologically during pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood. This may help you develop realistic expectations for yourself and your baby. Take a childbirth education class. Also, talk to other pregnant women and new mothers about their experiences.
Women who have a history of depression may be at higher risk for developing PPD, and women who develop depression before or during their pregnancy may experience ongoing symptoms after delivery. Remember that your primary care doctor or ob-gyn can also help by screening you for depression and treating you.
Once you've given birth, get help from supportive friends and family, but limit visitors so that they don't overwhelm you. Don't be too concerned with tasks that don't absolutely have to be done. Take frequent naps to stay rested, eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise. Don't give up your previous interests -- stay involved in outside interests that you had before the baby came along.