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Shoshana Bennett, PhD
Clinical Psychologist

Avoiding Postpartum Depression

Find out if you're predisposed to postpartum depression and what you can do to help prevent it.

There are predictors for postpartum depression (PPD), but no one is immune—there really isn’t one type of woman who gets hit with depression after delivery. Still, if you’ve experienced any of the following, you may be more likely to suffer from PPD:

-    A personal or family history of depression
-    A previous postpartum depression
-    Severe PMS
-    Negative mood changes in response to the birth control pill
-    Strong feelings of isolation
-    Poor partner support
-    Previous emotional trauma

Do any of these sound familiar? Even if they don’t, it’s a good idea to put some of these practices in place before baby’s birth to help avoid PPD or prepare for it if it does come:

• Set a nighttime routine. Making sure baby is cared for is just as important as making sure mom is cared for. Talk to your partner about how you’ll handle nighttime feedings so you’re getting enough rest at night.

• Make sure you’re staying healthy. Maintaining a good diet is key, so continue the same healthy habits even after birth. Exercise (we know, it’s hard to find time, but walking with baby counts) and consider adding omega-3 fish oil to your vitamin supplements.

• Line up support. It’s incredibly important to have emotional support after baby comes. Stay connected with family and friends so you don’t start to feel isolated.

• Research treatment methods. Look into counseling, medication, or other natural or alternative treatments so you’ll know all of your options if PPD does set in.

Photo: Kelly Knox
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