Postpartum Doula

Postpartum Mood Disorders: What New Moms Need to Know

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Your baby has finally arrived! Your family and friends are elated and yet you don’t have any sense of joy and delight because all you feel is anxiety and fear. It is important to understand that this is perfectly normal and that every new mom goes through the same process. Throughout your pregnancy, there were fluctuations in your hormone levels but now that your baby is born, they are starting to return to normal. The impact of these hormonal changes varies from one woman to the next and so it is important to understand the different types of postpartum mood disorders. 

Types of Postpartum Mood Disorders 

No matter what precautions you take, you cannot avoid postpartum stress and mood changes. However, it is important understand the differences between normal mood changes and more severe mood disorders. 

Postpartum Blues 

Postpartum blues is the most common type of postpartum mood disorders. According to experts, up to 80% of all new mothers get the “baby blues”. Postpartum blues generally set in when your baby is 2-3 days old and lasts for 1-2 weeks. Most new moms with the baby blues tend to feel sad and weepy and may break down in tears for no apparent reason. Postpartum blues are also associated with mood changes which means that you are likely to go from weepy to irritable and impatient in the blink of an eye. You are likely to feel restless and have problems sleeping which in turn causes fatigue and lethargy. Some new mums with the baby blues experience a loss of appetite and so they ignore their food intake. You may also experience a lack of mental focus and have trouble making decisions. You need to keep reminding yourself that what you are feeling and thinking is perfectly normal and that you just need a little time to rest and recover. 

Postpartum Depression 

Postpartum depression is a more serious postpartum mood disorder as it is linked to negative short-term and long-term effects on child development. Studies show that postpartum depression is not as common as the baby blues and affects up to 15% of mothers. Postpartum depression generally occurs about 1-3 weeks after childbirth but it can take longer – in rare cases, it can take up to 1 year! Postpartum depression is triggered by the sudden and drastic decrease of estrogen and progesterone after childbirth. New moms might think that their baby blues are simply lasting longer than usual, when in fact, they are suffering from postpartum depression. Women who have postpartum depression experience a change in their overall mood. Their overall mood is low and they have frequent crying spells. If you are constantly consumed by feelings of guilt and unhappy as a mum, you might have postpartum depression. Women with a history of depression are more likely to develop postpartum depression. 

Postpartum Psychosis 

Postpartum psychosis is the least common type of postpartum mood disorder but it is also the worst. According to researchers, postpartum psychosis affects less than 0.3% of all new mothers. Postpartum psychosis begins within 4 weeks of childbirth and generally requires hospitalization. Women with postpartum psychosis often exhibit extreme paranoia and suspicion. They suffer from hallucinations and delusions and may even have difficulty communicating. New moms with postpartum psychosis are often unable to sleep and display common signs of hyperactivity. A woman experiencing postpartum psychosis faces a break from reality where her delusions make perfect sense to her. Early diagnosis and treatment is imperative as the condition is linked to an increased risk of suicide and infanticide. 

Treatment options for Postpartum Mood Disorders 

The treatment for postpartum mood disorders varies according to the type of disorder and the severity. Most cases of postpartum blues do not require any treatment but new moms can benefit from counseling and support groups. Postpartum depression generally requires a short course of antidepressants along with cognitive behavioral therapy sessions. Postpartum psychosis requires stronger medication – antipsychotics to reduce hallucinations and mood stabilizers to reduce manic episodes. There is no surefire way to prevent postpartum mood disorders but getting adequate sleep and plenty of social support does help to reduce the risk.  

Most new moms don’t realize that they are suffering from a postpartum mood disorder and instead it is brought to their attention by those closest to them. Experienced doulas can often make out when a new mom’s anxiety symptoms are severe and may require medical attention - she can also help you connect to a therapist or other treatment resources in your area. A Postpartum Doula can also help new moms adjust to their role as a mother and help to provide constant emotional support. 

To find a therapist in the OC area that specializes in perinatal or postpartum mood disorders, please visit our resource page. For more help you can also contact Postpartum Support International’s hotline at 1-800-944-4773

To get connected with Postpartum Doula in Orange County, please reach out!


Author Bio: Anita Fernandes has been writing extensively on health and wellness for over a decade. She has expertise in nutrition, fitness, public health, and has contributed content to a variety of leading digital health publishers. Anita has a unique perspective on healthy living and lifestyle,as she has battled and overcome chronic pain. She shares her experiences in an effort to help others overcome the physical and mental health problems that can sometimes seem insurmountable.

Top 8 Ways for a Dad to Bond with a New Baby!

As a dad, oftentimes the reality of having a baby doesn't set in until they're born. Even then, bonding can take a while and this new role of fatherhood can feel oh, so intimidating. We get it and it's completely normal. You didn't carry, birth or nurse your baby and it all feels abstract. 

One of my favorite parts of being a Postpartum Doula is to help dads grow closer to their babies and watch their confidence soar.

Check out Doulas of OC’s top 8 tips for dads to bond with their newborn! 

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  1. Reading Aloud 

    Pick your favorite books, hold your baby in your lap and read, read, read. Not only does reading to your baby help encourage early language development, but she will love listening to the unique tone and natural rhythm of your voice. If you have a hard time with basic board books, try pulling out your favorite PG chapter book to read aloud. Baby doesn’t care too much about the content, they care about connection

  2. Bath Time Bubbles 

    Bath time is a perfect way to introduce a simple routine that can be just for you and baby. Whether it’s every night before bed or every other day, you will gain confidence as you care for your little one and ensure a special time carved out to enjoy being a dad.  

  3. Infant Massage 

    Physical touch is so very important for brain development and emotional security. By introducing a basic massage routine to your week, the bonding hormone, oxytocin will be flowing in both baby and dad. The release of this hormone creates a strong attachment and actually increases your desire to be present and close with those you love.  

  4. Singing During Diaper Changes 

    Diaper changes. It’s a mundane occurrence that happens way too often, right? A baby needs 8-12+ diaper changes a day, which leaves SO many opportunities to connect with your baby while they’re usually awake. I like to encourage fathers to utilize this time making eye contact with their baby and sing a song. Before you know it, it will be the favorite part of your day. 

  5. Tummy Time Giggles 

    Play is the foundation for early childhood. Get down on the floor and play with your baby. Make silly faces, shake a rattle, tickle their toes and imitate their sounds. You have many more years of play ahead of you, so start now by building a strong attachment rooted in joy.

  6. Shirtless Bottle Feeds 

    We promise this idea wasn’t just started by new moms waiting for their 6 week clearance. Multiple studies show that holding your baby skin-to-skin while feeding them, increases bonding, regulates baby’s temperature and encourages baby to be accustomed to your scent. Simply get your little one in a diaper only, cradle them upright in the nook of your arm, make eye contact and feed your baby.

  7. Master the Swaddle  

    There’s nothing like watching a new dad beam with pride as he calms his crying baby. From the football hold to bouncing on the yoga ball, to swaddling and shhhhhhhhing; a postpartum doula will help you practice each and every soothing technique for your fussy newborn!

  8. All the Cuddles 

    The desire to be held spans across every age and starts from the moment you’re born. Babies are often go from rocker, to swing, to crib to tummy time and crave to touch from those they love.  You don’t need to hold your baby all day long to create a strong bond. Plop your baby in your arms while catching up on the morning paper or snuggle during the basketball game. As a doula, I teach all dads how to use a baby-carrier to be able to get some baby snuggles in while still having both hands free! 

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We hope this list gave you some ideas to start building connecting with your newborn baby in your every day routine!

The Myth of Modern Day Motherhood

The Myth of Modern Day Motherhood

Doulas of Orange County has a simple mission; to walk alongside of parents with steadfast support during the most monumental, exhausting, transformative and joyful experience of their lives; welcoming a baby to the world. The fertility journey, the pregnancy, the birth and bringing a newborn home are intense and surreal. 

The books don’t fully prepare you, friends can overwhelm you, media can terrify you and your well meaning family can often judge your choices.

At Doulas of OC we believe that you shouldn’t just survive this time, but that you should thrive in parenthood. 

The Pantry: Postpartum Pasta Salad

I really love cooking for postpartum clients - generally I make light and meals. This way I’m not spending the entire postpartum visit in the kitchen and can still help with breastfeeding, newborn care, and anything else the new parents need. Postpartum nutrition is incredibly important, especially for the first several months. Your body goes through a huge transition after giving birth and nourishing it with healthy, nutritious, and soul-filling foods goes a long way in supporting your postpartum recovery.

Talk to your postpartum doula about your nutritional needs, any allergies/sensitivities and cravings. Ask for her favorite crockpot recipes or snack ideas, I guarantee she’ll have tons to share!

Today I’m going to share with you one of my favorite postpartum meals: Postpartum Pasta Salad.

What Does a Postpartum Doula Do? - Part Three

Today we’ll share our final thoughts on the role of our Postpartum Doula. This is Part 3 of a three-part series on the ABCs of Postpartum Doulas. If you haven’t read through the whole previous parts you can check them out here: Part 1 and Part 2