Salt Lake City, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 09/16/2020 --Welcoming a new baby into your family can be one of the most joyous experiences life has to offer. But with this significant life event comes a big adjustment and added stress.
"When women are pregnant and as they become new moms, they are at increased risk for anxiety, depression and other behavioral health concerns. The stress of the global COVID-19 pandemic may compound these existing risks factors." said Melanie Longmore, RN, MSN, labor and delivery nurse manager at Intermountain Riverton Hospital in Riverton, Utah.
"Many moms experience some mild "baby blues" after giving birth and pre-pandemic numbers indicate one in seven moms will suffer from a postpartum mood or anxiety disorder," she said.
Longmore and other women's healthcare providers educate new moms about how to take care of themselves after childbirth, not only physically, but also how to strengthen their emotional and mental health as well. She offers six tips for new moms and uses the acronym SNOWBALL to help moms remember all the steps for self-care.
1. Take Care of Yourself — Think SNOWBALL
S is for Sleep. Make sure you're getting enough rest. When you're tired you aren't thinking clearly, and your mood may suffer.
N is for Nutrition. Eating food that's good for you will help you recover and is especially important if you're breastfeeding.
O is for Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Fish oils have been proven to reduce mild to moderate depression in new moms.
W is for Walking. Exercise will improve your mood and help your body recover from giving birth.
B is for Baby Breaks. Take some time away from your baby. It can help you feel more like yourself again!
A is for Adult Time. Spending time with other adults — your partner or your friends — will help you maintain important relationships.
L is for Liquids. Try to drink at least two quarts of water daily.
L is for Laughter. Remember to laugh and give yourself a break. Life with a new baby requires a sense of humor.
2. Identify Someone You Can be Absolutely Real With
Identify someone you can talk openly with and commit to share your feelings with that person. No matter how frustrated you are or how silly you think your feelings may be, having someone to confide in and validate your experiences is important. Communicate with that person regularly, so they really know how you're doing.
3. Make Sleep a Priority
New babies are notorious for disrupting their parents' sleep, and a lack of sleep can intensify your emotional reactions and negative feelings. Find a friend, relative, or babysitter you trust who can watch your baby while you sleep.
4. Give Yourself Permission to Care for Your Baby in the Way That Works Best
Everyone will have an opinion on parenting, but all new parents have to find what works for them. You may need some practice to find the best method. Stick to what works for you and your baby and don't worry about what others think.
5. Be Kind to Yourself
Don't compare yourself to the images you see on social media. Much of what you see is enhanced with filters and isn't realistic, and is often achieved with additional help. Do the best you can and give yourself time to adjust to your new baby and all of the related major lifestyle changes.
6. Know Your Resources and Have a Plan to Get Help
Feeling emotional after a baby is born is normal, but if you're consistently in a dark mood and feel other symptoms of postpartum depression, get help. As soon as you realize you're not thinking clearly, call your doctor or seek other sources of help. Don't wait until it's an emergency.
Mental Health Resources for New Moms
Longmore refers moms to additional resources from Intermountain Healthcare and community organizations. Some of those resources for new moms are available through the Intermountain Moms accounts on social media and videos by Intermountain's Nurse Dani, including a video on postpartum depression.
National community resources:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Call 1-800-273-8255. For an emergency, call 911 or go to your local hospital emergency department.
Postpartum Support International: This group provides education and resources to mothers with mental health symptoms. Find them online at www.postpartum.net or call 1.800.944.4773.
National Peer Mom Volunteers: This group provides peer counseling and can be reached at 1.800.PPD.MOMS.
About Intermountain Healthcare
Intermountain Healthcare is a not-for-profit system of 24 hospitals, 215 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,500 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes and sustainable costs. For more information, see intermountainhealthcare.org.