Postnatal wellbeing

By Louise, The Honest Midwife

We bet the last few weeks have flown by in a bit of a blur with little thought to how you are doing. So, let’s have a quick check in…

In those first few days you may have experienced what are commonly known as “Baby Blues”. Unexpected feelings of anxiety, tearfulness and worry can often be experienced from 2 or 3 days following your baby’s arrival, but should have subsided by around day 10. Don’t be surprised if a kind offer of a cup of tea, can see you in floods of tears! Just go with it and remember you have just had a baby. A certain level of emotion is to be expected.

These early days emotions are not the same as having postnatal depression which can leave Mums (and partners) feeling hopeless, sad and experiencing unjustified feelings of guilt and doubt regarding their parenting ability. In addition, these feelings generally last for weeks, if not months and the symptoms can range from mild to severe.

It is really important that if you are experiencing anything like this, that you tell your friends and family so that they can offer you a little bit of extra TLC. If you find that these feeling are prolonged and aren’t showing any signs of going, chat to your midwife who will be able to offer additional support.

If you are reading this and recognising any of the above, it is important that you chat to your GP. Suffering with postnatal depression or anxiety is not something you just “snap out of” but with the right support these symptoms can be treated and most women make a full recovery.

There are a few things that you can do which may help you to feel a little better. Making sure that you are eating well and keeping hydrated will make a huge difference to both your physical and mental wellbeing. Allowing yourself to become dehydrated is known to lead to poor concentration, headaches, fatigue and increase anxiety. Not what you want when you have a new baby. Breastfeeding also takes fluid from your body so do make sure you have lots of water to drink throughout the day to replenish yourself.

It can be really easy to rely on the local take away for your daily meals. Don’t be shy in accepting offers from people of a lovely home-cooked meal. Saying yes to an aromatic casserole is a WIN WIN for everyone - you get a delicious meal and your chef’s get to enjoy a delicious cuddle with your little baby!

Finally, be kind to yourself. You may be keen to get back to your regular exercise regime or be anxious about the state of the house but, all these things will be there waiting for you when the time is right. Take your recovery slowly, keep talking to your friends and family about how you feel and always have a chat to your GP or midwife if you feel your mood is really impacting your everyday life.