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Parenting & Pregnancy: How to take care of your mental health after birth

In those few months after birth, it's important for mothers to take care of their mental health.

Posted: Jul 7, 2021 6:10 PM
Updated: Jul 7, 2021 6:17 PM

EUGENE, Ore. – Pregnancy is a tough challenge for any mother, but the struggles after birth can be even harder.

In this month’s “Parenting & Pregnancy” segment sponsored by Women’s Care, KEZI takes a look at how mothers can take care of their mental health and postpartum depression.

We’ve been hearing for years about the three trimesters of pregnancy, but now there’s a national movement to change that.

“When you’re pregnant, you’re really focused on your pregnancy, you’re focused on how the baby is doing, and the baby travels with you. It’s your schedule. In the fourth trimester, there’s this baby, and now you’re on its schedule. Your schedule is out the window,” said Dr. Brooke Kyle.

The idea is to come up with a plan while you’re pregnant with strategies to get you through those tired days and nights.

“It might be a good idea to designate someone as a care coordinator. It could be your sister, your best friend, your mother, someone who can organize meals or you know help with the laundry,” Kyle said.

She said a fourth trimester is also key in addressing a mother’s mental health. One in four mothers in Lane County suffers from postpartum depression.

“You know, you really want to have this baby, and you’re so excited you feel like you should be overjoyed, but then the reality of babies is you’re sleep deprived, your hormones are out of control, you’re trying to deal with things in the home, other kids, balancing family, and it’s really common for people to get in a dark place or a worried place,” Kyle said.

She said new moms shouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help because there are resources, from Well Mama to counseling. And if you need medication, they can help you find something safe.

Kyle said you should try to get eight hours of sleep, even if it means a couple of naps during the day. And a shower or a quick nap can do wonders for your mental health.

“Getting a walk, enjoying a pet, think about journaling, lots of things you can do for self-care,” she said.

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