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Hummingbird Study for Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression can effect 1 out of 7 new moms. If you recently had a baby and you are feeling anxious, sad, or irritable, or perhaps you are crying a lot, you could be suffering from  postpartum depression or anxiety. 

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The good news? There is help out there. I wanted to share with you today a study that is having  good results treating women with postpartum depression. The Hummingbird Study is a research study evaluating an investigational medication in women with moderate to severe postpartum depression.

You may qualify for the study if you meet the following eligibility requirements: 

  1. You are between 18 to 45 years old
  2. You gave birth within the last 6 months
  3. You frequently feel extremely sad, anxious or overwhelmed and these symptoms are associated with postpartum depression

If you qualify, and decide you want to participate in the study, you will receive 24-hour medical care and support for your postpartum depression during the 3-day, in-patient period. All study-related medical care and medication provided at no cost.

If you would like more information, or to see if you qualify for the study, please visit www.thehummingbirdstudy.com or call  (844) 901-0101.

Is postpartum depression preventable?

photo credit: pixaby

Here is the truth... postpartum depression is not always completely preventable. However, there are steps that you can take to help minimize your risk. I was recently interviewed by Romper.com and provided several tips on how to be proactive and implement some self-care strategies that can make those first few weeks of being a new parent a little more manageable. 

Three areas to focus on to help minimize your risk of postpartum depression and anxiety are support, resources, and sleep.

I like to remind moms that it takes a village, and you need to identify who is in your village. 

 Who are the people you can talk to about anything without feeling judged? The ones you can call at any hour of the day if you are struggling. Who are the people that can watch the baby for an hour or two so you can get some rest? Don’t be afraid to call upon your village and ask for help. It can also be helpful to come up with a list of things that people can do to help you, so you are prepared when they offer you assistance.

You don't have to, and you shouldn't, do this alone! What supports can you put into place before your baby is born? For example, you can set up a Meal train calendar to help organize who will bring food when you are taking care of your new baby. 

And don't forget about sleep! Can someone else, a partner or postpartum doula/night nurse, take the first baby feeding of the night so that mom can get a solid block of uninterrupted sleep?

For more tips, and to read the article in its entirety, please visit romper.com.

Hopefully, by being proactive you can reduce your risk of PPD and make life feel a tiny bit more manageable when your baby arrives. But if you do experience depression and/or anxiety, don't be afraid to ask for help. You will be an amazing mom... just remember you do not have to do it on your own!

Horrible intrusive thoughts, and why they are okay

As I mentioned yesterday, this week is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week. For the remainder of the week I will be posting articles and resources to help bring awareness to the struggles with depression and anxiety that affect 1 in 7 new moms. 

Intrusive thoughts are exactly what they sound like- they are unwanted and often distressing thoughts that pop into your head and can be hard to get rid of. For new moms these thoughts are especially anxiety provoking because they often are about harm coming to your baby. Sometimes graphic images come with the thoughts, and they can be hard to shake. These thoughts can bring shame and embarrassment. Often moms do not want to tell anyone that they are having these thoughts, because they think there must be something terribly wrong with them if they are having these awful thoughts about their baby. 

These intrusive thoughts are common, especially in women that are experiencing postpartum anxiety or depression. They do not mean that something is wrong with you, or that you are a bad mom.

These thoughts are not you! They do not make you a bad mom. They do not mean that you will harm your baby. They are a product of your brain, your very busy brain. Please do not feel like you must keep these thoughts to yourself. Talk to your partner, a family member, another mom, or even a counselor or therapist if you are struggling. You are not alone!

In a recent article in the Huffington Post, Terra LaRock bravely talks about her experience with intrusive thoughts:

I noticed that every so often I would get these flashes of the worst case scenario happening to my baby. From falling down the stairs, to hitting her head accidentally on the door as I walked down the hallway, to her suffocating in her sleep, it was as if my mind was hijacked by every terrible tragedy I had read about or seen in my lifetime.
The thoughts became so bad that I became scared to hold my daughter. I was afraid that if held her, the thoughts would be prolonged. Therefore, I thought that if I didn’t see her or hold her for awhile, that they would stop and would no longer be triggered. I knew that this seemed irrational and most of all, physically impossible since I was still breastfeeding and I was of course, her mother.

If this article was helpful to you, or you know someone it might help, please take a moment now to share this post. The more we talk about postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, the less stigmatized they will be. Thank you! 


Are you at increased risk of postpartum depression?

With 1 in 7 new moms experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety, it's important for all of us to start talking more about it.

While PPD/PPA can affect anyone, regardless of ethnicity, social class, or economic status, there are several factors that puts a woman at higher risk for developing PPD/PPA.

Jaime Filler Postpartum Therapist

Asking these 8 simple questions can help you figure out if you are at an increased risk:

1) Is it difficult for you to ask for help

2) Were you depressed or anxious after your last baby or during your pregnancy?

3) Have you been depressed or anxious in the past?

4) Was your mother, sister, and/or aunt depressed after their babies were born?

5) Is your family far away and do you have few friends nearby?

6) Is it sometimes hard for you to slow down?

7) Have you had trouble with hormones and moods, especially before your period?

8) Do you not have the money, food, and/or housing you need?

If you answered 'Yes' to 3 or more of these questions, you are at higher risk for developing postpartum depression or anxiety. The good news is there is help if you are struggling. You are not alone, and you do not have to suffer alone!! Talk to someone about how you are feeling. If you find that you are not able to get the support you need from your family and friends, join a support group or contact a therapist who specializes in maternal mental health.

Here are some additional resources you may find helpful. 

Dad can get postpartum depression too!

When we think of postpartum depression and anxiety, we most often think of women. However, men can experience postpartum anxiety or depression as well. In fact, 1 in 10 new fathers get postpartum depression or anxiety. And if the mother is experiencing her own anxiety and depression, this rate goes up to 50%. 

Check out this video from Postpartum International to learn more.

Postpartum Support International presents an interview with Dr. David Levine, survivor of paternal postpartum depression. Video by Plante Grande.

5 Secrets to Help You Get to Sleep

Here’s the situation… You’re exhausted. You get into your comfy PJ’s, get ready for bed, and finally crawl in under the covers. But you don’t sleep… Instead your mind decides to replay the events of the day in your head. What went well? What didn’t? What did you forget to do? Did you return that phone call? “Ok, stop,” you tell yourself, “I must get to sleep!” But do you? No! Because now your mind starts thinking about what you need to do tomorrow. What do you need to do before that meeting? You can’t forget to schedule that doctor’s appointment. Maybe you even pick-up that phone that is sitting on your nightstand and “quickly” check what’s on your social media feeds.

Sound familiar?

If so, here are a few tips that will encourage a visit from the Sandman:

Pexels.com

Pexels.com

1) Practice mindfulness to help relax your body and quiet that overactive mind.  A good way to start a mindfulness practice is to simply focus on your breath. Start by telling yourself “I’m breathing in” as you take a deep breath, and “I’m breathing out” as you exhale. If you catch yourself thinking about something else, thank your mind for that thought and then let it go. If you have trouble doing this on your own, and find yourself getting distracted, there are several apps that can help. One of my favorites is Calm. There are a lot of them out there, look and find one that works for you.

2) Create a consistent sleep routine. Go to bed and get up the same time each day. Your body will get use to the routine. Need help with that? Set a reminder on your phone to let you know that it is time to start getting ready for bed each night.

3) Turn off the screens! Looking at your phone, watching TV, or fiddling with other gadgets are not helpful prior to sleep. Can you make your bedroom a technology-free zone? At minimum, remove that phone or remote from your nightstand.

4) Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and not too hot or cold.

5) Make sure you are getting some exercise each day. 

Hopefully, with these five quick tips you will be sleeping easier in no time! 

Three myths about postpartum depression and anxiety

Since the birth of my two children, I have become passionate about working with women who are struggling with prenatal or postpartum mood and anxiety disorders and their partners. Depression and anxiety are the most common complications of childbirth, affecting 1 in 7 women. However, many women suffer in silence and do not talk about what they are experiencing. I think this silence is due to several myths about what postpartum depression truly is and is not.

Myth #1: When you have postpartum depression you don't feel connected to your baby.

pixabay.com

pixabay.com

I believed this to be true.  And sometimes it is. A parent who is suffering from postpartum anxiety and depression can experience a lack of connection to their baby. But often this is not the case. Parents can feel connected to their baby and still suffer. In fact, some parents feel so connected with their child that they feel that they are the only ones able to care for them. They have a hard time accepting help from family, or their partner, and can feel overwhelmed. 

Myth #2: People with postpartum depression are the ones you hear about in the news that hurt themselves or/and their babies.

Stories in the media about women hurting their children, or themselves, are sometimes what come to mind when people think of postpartum depression. However, these stories are usually related to postpartum psychosis, not postpartum depression. Postpartum psychosis is rare and usually occurs within the first two weeks postpartum. Postpartum psychosis is described as a break with reality. Postpartum depression, on the other hand,  can look like irritability, appetite or sleep disturbance, crying or sadness, or feelings of guilt and hopelessness. 

Myth #3: If I tell anyone about the disturbing thoughts I have about my baby, they will judge me and surely take my baby away.

Some women can have intrusive and disturbing thoughts about their child. Common themes are the baby getting hurt.  Images and thoughts might include the parent hurting or even sexually abusing the baby. These thoughts are usually highly distressing to a parent! Research has shown that these thoughts and images are products of anxiety, they are not delusional and have a very low probability of being acted on. But these thoughts are so disturbing that parents will keep them to themselves and not tell a soul. They suffer in silence for fear of being judged or being labeled an unfit parent. There is help. You do not need to suffer in silence!

 

There is help out there

pixabay.com

pixabay.com

Postpartum depression and anxiety can start any time within the first year of parenthood.  If you have been struggling, and think you may be experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety, there is help out there!  Postpartum depression and anxiety are treatable.

The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale is a 10-question self-administered assessment tool that helps to identify women that are suffering from postpartum depression. You can download and print the questionnaire here, or you can complete it online at the Beyond the Blues website.

To find a trained professional who can help, call Postpartum Support International and a volunteer will connect you with someone in your area. You can also click here for additional resources. 

You are not alone, and with help you will feel better.