One in three women with inconsolable babies reports feeling depressed, says research on nearly 3,000 new moms. "I see a lot of fussy babies," says researcher Pamela High, M.D., a clinical professor of pediatrics at Brown Medical School in Providence, R.I., "and the mothers are worried, anxious, tired and depressed." High's study is the first to establish a link between colic and postpartum depression in a demographically diverse group of women. She advises a new mom to recruit others to help, and to set aside time every day to be off-duty.
One-on-one emotional support after delivery may be a good way to avoid PPD. Women who have a history of depression, are under stress or lack social support are most at risk, but a review of 15 studies shows that the condition can be prevented in such women. The analysis found that receiving individual assessment and weekly support from a health professional after delivery reduced the risk. Group therapy and prenatal preventive strategies weren't as effective.
Feeling exhausted on the 14th day after giving birth makes it 50 percent more likely a new mom will suffer from postpartum depression by day 28, according to a new study. To prevent fatigue, study author Elizabeth Corwin, Ph.D., advises that all new mothers, not just nursing moms, continue taking prenatal vitamins for at least three months and that they ask their doctors to check their iron level. "In some studies, women with increased fatigue were anemic," she says, "and if they weren't anemic, they had low iron." Pain control also helps combat fatigue.
Pregnancy is one of the most exciting times in a woman's life, and for most of us, the challenges are comparatively minor: a few months of morning sickness, some bouts of hormone-fueled emotional upheaval. But what happens if the unthinkable occurs and you're hit with a truly life-changing event while you're expecting your baby?