New Moms: Coping With Hormones and Postpartum Depression

Physical, mental changes can be jarring to new mom

newborn sleeping

Now that the royal baby boy has been born after being overdue, the Duchess of Cambridge, like other new moms, will be experiencing the joys of motherhood.

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And, like other new moms, she will experience changes inside and out, too.

Very big changes.

‘Everything changes’ after birth

OB/GYN Rebecca Starck, MD of Cleveland Clinic’s OB/GYN & Women’s Health Institute says there’s simply no way to completely prepare someone for life after giving birth.

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“Hormones are raging. Everything changes,” says Dr. Starck. “Your cardiovascular system changes. Your cardio output changes. The hormones that stimulate breastfeeding and breast milk production are increasing. Your uterus is contracting, which is reducing your blood loss. All sorts of things are changing.”

Postpartum depression affects 1 in 10

Another change moms may experience is postpartum depression, says Dr. Starck. One in 10 new moms will be diagnosed with the condition.

Moms who develop postpartum depression may experience:

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  • Extreme highs and lows
  • Crying
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Inability to care for themselves or their baby

Don’t let a bumpy postpartum ruin the experience

Dr. Starck says a lot of women expect to feel elated over their baby and when they don’t, they’re embarrassed and won’t talk about it. She strongly encourages new moms to speak up to their doctor if they’re having the symptoms of postpartum depression.

“Ten to 15 percent of new moms will be diagnosed with postpartum depression, and many will need medication,” says Dr. Starck. “And that’s OK. It makes you feel more normal, balanced and in control. That can be an empowering experience and can turn what could be a ruined experience into a wonderful thing.”

Having a new baby can be overwhelming and isolating. A good social support system of friends and family, too, can really help a new mom get through a bumpy postpartum.

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