EXCLUSIVE: Expert tells you the reasons behind anxiety in new mothers

Updated on Oct 12, 2021 11:21 AM IST  |  34.4K
Postpartum depression in new mothers
Expert tells you the reasons behind anxiety in new mothers

Do you feel you are a bad mother? Or that your life has changed upside down and there’s nothing that you can do about it? Are you not able to build that bond with your baby, and have frequent episodes of crying? Fret not, you are not alone. This kind of anxiety is common in many new mothers. And experts have scientific terms for it, postpartum blues and depression.

Experts say that almost 70 to 80 percent mothers suffer from postpartum blues and about 10-20 percent suffer from postpartum depression. Courtesy to the ever-changing hormones.

“After birth of a baby there is a sudden fall in oestrogen and progesterone, female hormones which also has an impact on the neurochemicals which are responsible for good mood and energy called dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin, which can lead to low mood, low energy, no interest, crying spells and a lack of enjoyment. These experiences impact the mother because she has come to believe culturally that childbirth is an enjoyable and exhilarating experience. This then makes the mother feel more guilty as to why she is feeling sad when she should be happy. This, furthermore, adds to her anxiety,” says Dr. Milan Balakrishnan, Consultant Psychiatrist, Masina Hospital.

depressed mother holding baby

While these feelings are out of one’s control, and there’s nothing much one can do about it, Balakrishnan says, one should understand that these are just temporary feelings and will pass. “With that being said, a new mother should focus on building a bond with the baby. Ensure enough skin to skin touch. This improves oxytocin levels and mood. Baby massage is also another great way of bonding with your child. Apart from this, smile at the baby and soon the baby will smile back. Sing to the baby even if you are not a great singer. All these tips will be of great help,” says Balakrishnan.

mother smiling at baby

With that being said, it is imperative for new mothers to take care of themselves, too, along with their babies. A healthy and happy mother means a healthy and happy child. “Take care of yourself. Eat well, and include leafy vegetables, flax seeds, and eggs, if possible, in your diet,” he adds.

Gradually, start exercising. Take a nap when your baby sleeps. “Get out in the sunshine for Vitamin D intake. Pamper yourself, buy stuff, watch fun shows, do things you like. Build a support network of family friends or similar mothers. If nothing works or if you have thoughts of death or fear or harming the baby seek help from a mental health professional at the earliest,” advises Balakrishnan.

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