Breaking the stigma: Understanding perinatal depression and 4 tips to cope with it
Perinatal depression is a very common mood disorder and about 15-20% of women during pregnancy or after childbirth go through this state. Here are 4 coping tips
The perinatal period in a woman’s life is the period of pregnancy till 4-6 weeks after the baby is born and since this is a big transition phase in a woman’s life, they go through tremendous stress, anxiety and depression. Perinatal depression can happen in either the prenatal period or the post-natal period where besides the environmental factors, changing routines and one’s own mental state, the depressive state can also be caused by various health issues such as anaemia, bleeding, gestation hyperglycemia, weight gain, fatigue, hypoglycemia, breathing difficulty, back pain that develops during this time etc.
While we look at managing this condition, we should look into a solution that addresses many of these causes. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Manoj Kutteri, Medical Director and CEO of Atmantan Wellness Centre, explained, “Perinatal depression is a very common mood disorder and about 15-20% of women during pregnancy or after childbirth go through this state. They may or may not have any history of depression in their early life. If not treated or addressed properly, this can also lead to other complications such as acute insomnia, bonding issues with the baby, gut-related illnesses and suicidal tendencies etc.”
He elaborated, “Besides the change in one’s routine, hormonal changes also play a crucial role in the occurrence of perinatal depression. It is believed that the sudden drop in estrogen and progesterone immediately after childbirth might be one of the contributing factors to depression. The mother-child relationships can be impaired due to this and in the long term, this can also affect emotional development and cognitive behaviour. Perinatal condition is completely manageable if it is detected early and intervention is planned.”
He suggested some measures to manage this condition:
- Healthy Diet plan – Diet alone is not the cure for this condition, it does play a major role in managing the depression state to a great extent. Go for a diet that is rich in antioxidants and one that promotes gut health too. As we know the gut is an organ that secretes more than 70% of our happy hormones and hence improving gut health will also help us to manage depression to some extent. Folic acid Omega 3 and Vitamin D supplements are also extremely useful treat this condition.
- Laughter therapy – Mindfulness sessions, Yoga and laughter therapy are brilliant tools to manage depression. These practices help to manage your stress levels and improve inner happiness. It is a form of cognitive therapy and an efficient non-pharmacological and alternative solution to many of the disorders. Our mental state also helps us to balance our moods and to rebalance the autonomic nervous system. Yoga and breathing practices also help to improve breathing.
- Relook into your habits – Addictive substances such as alcohol and tobacco will have an adverse effect on your mental health. This can also be a contributor to developing prenatal or postnatal depression. A healthy lifestyle by avoiding smoking and alcohol intake will help us to also balance the hormones and manage many other lifestyle illnesses including obesity and diabetes.
- Exercise regularly – Exercise beyond doubt helps to improve our mood by releasing the feel-good hormones in our body. Exercise can increase the secretion of endorphins and other brain chemicals that can act as natural cannabis in our bodies.