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Here are some tips for coping with postnatal depression

However much you may have prepared and planned for a baby, no one can quite prepare you for what life will be like once it has arrived.We know feeling low, tearful or tired in the first few weeks after giving birth, is common. If you have been feeling sad or low in mood continuously for three weeks or more, it could be postnatal depression (PND), says Sarah Bateup a psychological therapist and clinical lead at PsychologyOnline.

One in seven mothers will experience postnatal depression and many suffer needlessly because they are too embarrassed or afraid to admit they need help, explains Sarah. It's a common misconception that you would show symptoms immediately, but the reality is you can develop the condition any time within the first year after the baby is born, and even on some occasions can develop later.

Signs to look out for include a loss of pleasure and enjoyment in things and avoidance of activities you would normally enjoy. Often mothers showing signs of PND worry excessively, panic and find it hard to be reassured.

Self help tips for PND

Here are some of the self help tips mentioned by participants in the webinar that Ieso Digital Health hosted to discuss the best ways to support women with PND.

  • Feeling low after having a baby is normal, it is helpful to try and remember this
  • Talk to someone – family, friends or professionals can all help in different ways.
  • Talk to other mothers about their feelings and experiences and be honest about your own – you will find other mothers who feel/felt very similarly.
  • Taking a bit of time for yourself is important, so you remember that you are not just a mother
  • Don’t feel the need to pretend that you are doing well – allow yourself to acknowledge whatever feelings you have and try and invite others to show their support
  • The sooner you ask for help, the sooner you will recover, so always ask if you find yourself with any symptoms.
  • You will not be judged on your ability as a mother – postnatal depression is common.
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy can be very beneficial for PND and online therapy is confidential, accessible and does not require you to leave the house for appointments.
  • You use instant messaging to receive your therapy and appointments can be taken from home at anytime which is particularly beneficial for those with a small baby.

Many of the participants mentioned the benefit of 'talking therapy' also known as cognitive behavioural therapy. The benefit of the online therapy provided by PsychologyOnline is that it can be accessed at home, over the internet, using a computer or mobile phone.

Ieso Digital Health is increasingly available free to NHS patients and if you have a GP in Camden or West Kent you can self refer for treatment.

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