Postpartum blues

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:50 pm
Some women feel sad or 'let down' in the first few weeks after childbirth, and many new mothers experience some symptoms of depression within the first six months. This is commonly referred to as post-partum (post-PAR-tum) blues. The cause is not known, but hormones may be a contributing factor. After having a baby, your estrogen (ES-troe-jin) and progesterone (pro-GESS-ter-own) levels change. This is similar to the hormonal changes many women experience during their menstrual cycle. There are many other factors that may be contributing to these feelings. Sometimes there's a gap between your expectations about becoming a parent and the reality of a new baby. The change in your lifestyle, late night feedings, and reduction of sleep may also affect you. In addition, any emotional problems that were present prior to pregnancy may seem magnified after giving birth. Whatever the reasons for your depression, there are some things that can help. Don't be afraid to ask for help taking care of the baby. You need to rest so you can regain your strength. Eat right and try to get some exercise. The better you feel about yourself, the better you'll feel about everything else. Talk to other people who understand what you're going through. There may be a support group for new moms in your area. Your family and friends need to know that you need their support, too. The post-partum blues usually don't last long, but if they do, don't hesitate to seek medical help. For more information, please consult your health care provider or the maternity unit where you delivered.

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