The birth of a baby can trigger a jumble of powerful emotions, from excitement and joy to fear and anxiety. But it can also result in some feelings that you might not expect. This article describes the preparations you can make in advance of your first appointment to discuss a very common condition called postpartum depression (PPD) that affects over three million moms in the US alone each year.
What Our Experts Are Saying
Insights, recommendations, and advice for parents balancing babies and the blues from the doctors, subject matter experts and thought leaders in the Modern Parent Project community.
What to Do?
Direct, straightforward and summarized advice and recommendations. Parents, please consider the following insights when navigating the challenging topic of postpartum blues and moods.
What NOT to Do?
The wrong words or actions can sometimes make things worse. Parents, please consider avoiding the following potential traps when navigating the challenging topic of postpartum blues and moods.
Speak openly with your doctor about what you are experiencing.
It’s important to speak openly with your healthcare professional regarding how you are feeling. Though not normal, postpartum mood disorders are very common and you are not alone.
Create a support system who will be there for your through your experience of postpartum mood disorder.
Share how you are feeling with the people you are close to. These people will help make up your support team and will be an integral part to your recovery.
Seek Counseling with someone who specializes in or has worked with postpartum mood disorders.
Having a postpartum mood disorder can be a scary and bewildering experience. Talking with a trained professional who understands your situation will be paramount in your recovery.
Don't keep your feelings to yourself.
It’s important that you share your feelings with both your doctor and your loved ones.
Don't think that you are alone in your struggle.
Postpartum mood disorders are not normal, but they are common, and you do not have to suffer in silence.
Don't believe the lie that you are a bad mom.
Having a postpartum mood disorder does not make you a bad mom. You are struggling with a real illness that is treatable.
Preparations for your first Postpartum Appointment
Here is the list of things that you should consider and prepare before your first appointment.
After your first appointment, your doctor may refer you to a mental health provider who can create the right treatment plan for you. You may want to find a trusted family member or friend to join you for your appointment to help you remember all of the information discussed.
What you can do
Make a List
Before your appointment, make a list of:
- Any symptoms you’ve been experiencing and for how long
- All of your medical issues, including physical conditions or mental health disorders, such as depression
- All the medications you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medications as well as vitamins and other supplements, as well as their doses
- Questions to ask your doctor
Questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is my diagnosis?
- What treatments are likely to help me?
- What are the possible side effects of the treatments you’re proposing?
- How much and how soon do you expect my symptoms to improve with treatment?
- Is the medication you’re prescribing safe to take while breast-feeding?
- How long will I need to be treated?
- What lifestyle changes can help me manage my symptoms?
- How often should I be seen for follow-up visits?
- Am I at increased risk of other mental health problems?
- Am I at risk of this condition recurring if I have another baby?
- Is there any way to prevent a recurrence if I have another baby?
- Are there any printed materials that I can have? What websites do you recommend?
Don’t hesitate to ask other questions.
What to expect from your doctor. A doctor or mental health provider who sees you for possible postpartum depression may ask:
- What are your symptoms, and when did they start?
- Have your symptoms been getting better or worse over time?
- Are your symptoms affecting your ability to care for your baby?
- Do you feel as bonded to your baby as you expected?
- Are you able to sleep when you have the chance and get out of bed when it’s time to wake up?
- How would you describe your energy level?
- Has your appetite changed?
- How often would you say you feel anxious, irritable or angry?
- Have you had any thoughts of harming yourself or your baby?
- How much support do you have in caring for your baby?
- Are there other significant stressors in your life, such as financial or relationship problems?
- Have you been diagnosed with any other medical conditions?
- Have you ever been diagnosed with any mental health conditions, such as depression or bipolar disorder? If so, what type of treatment helped the most?
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