Alberta Health Services PPD Document

Royal Alexandra Hospital
Women’s Health

Wellness for New Moms

Tips for managing stress and taking care of you!
Is What I am Feeling Normal?

• Having a new baby is exiting…and also exhausting. It is normal to feel overwhelmed, especially when you first come home.
• Mood changes may come 3 to 4 days after delivery and last a few days or a few weeks. They are caused by the sudden change in your body’s hormones. Most new moms have them. They are often called “baby blues”.
• You may feel sad or anxious, have mood swings or crying spells, feel worried about whether you can be a good mom, or even feel trapped.
• Baby blues usually go away without treatment. However, if you feel this way for more than two weeks, or if your feelings are getting worse, you should get help right away. You may have post-partum depression of another problem, such as low thyroid hormone.

What is Post-Partum Depression?
• Depression is more than just feeling “blue” or “down in the dumps” for a few days.
• With depression, sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings don’t go away and they interfere with day-to-day life.
• Although some women get depressed right after childbirth, it may not occur until several weeks later.
• Depression is not your fault and you should not be ashamed to tell someone about your symptoms.
• Postpartum depression gets better with treatment.

How do I know if I am Depressed?
• See your doctor if you have any of the following for longer than two weeks:
- Feeling sad, anxious, hopeless or overwhelmed, crying a lot
- Having no energy; sleeping too little or too much
- Unable to take care of the baby
- Loss of appetite
• See the doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Loss of interest in the baby
- Thoughts of hurting the baby or yourself
- Obsessive or extreme worry about the baby

Tips for Coping:
• Be gentle with yourself. Know that you are doing the best you can and that things will get easier. We promise.
• Sleep, baby, sleep…and we mean you. Rest whenever your baby naps. Or ask friends and family to take over while you catch some shuteye.
• Sing your heart out…we’re not kidding. It will release tension and stress. You and baby can dance along.
• Go simple. Dust bunnies, thank-you cards and fancy cooking can wait a few weeks. Think survival, not perfection.
• If you are someone who really needs your house clean in order to be happy, ask for help. You’re not the only one who knows how to vacuum!
• It’s okay to spend the odd day in pajamas and its okay to rely on take-out or fast food once in awhile.
• Spoil yourself everyday: 15 minutes with a cup of tea and a book, a single square of chocolate, a warm, soothing bath, a head massage from your toddler or partner, 5 minutes watching stars…you pick, but do something.
• Get fresh air, even for a few minutes each day. Sunlight will lift your spirits and walk outside will remind you that you and baby are part of the big wide world.
• Time out! If your baby is crying and you are upset, put baby in the crib and go to another room for a few minutes. Take some deep breaths and count slowly to 100.
• Crying is the only way that your baby knows how to communicate. It doesn’t mean you are a bad mom. If you need a good cry, go right ahead.
• Involve your partner. It’s okay if his way with the baby is different from yours. What matters is that they are bonding…and you are getting help. He can do it, really, he can.
• While you are feeding baby, take a 60 second stress break... Close your eyes and imagine yourself away to somewhere special. Can you feel the warm sun on your face?

List of Resources:
• Family Doctor
• Obstetrician Gynecologist
• Public Health: 780-735-3000
• Health Link: 780-408-5465
• New Mom’s Network: 780-413-7980
• Reproductive Mental Health Support Program at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for counseling support: 780-735-6785
• Health Beginnings 24 Hour Hotline: 780-413-7990
If you have questions:
Call Health Link Alberta at 780-408-LINK (5465), this phone lines is answered by registered health nurses
24 hours a day. Outside the local Edmonton calling area, call toll-free 1-800-408-LINK.