Get Well Wednesday: Did Pregnancy Give You The Blues?

Get Well Wednesday: Did Pregnancy Give You The Blues?

Dr. Jessica Shepherd has appeared on Good Morning America, The Today Show and Dr. Oz. She’s a regular on local news stations in Dallas and she contributes to multiple national magazines and websites as a medical expert.

Dr. Shepherd has a no-holds barred approach when discussing women’s health issues and uses her platform to empower women to be health advocates for themselves.

Dr. Shepherd, also known as the #dallasgynecologist– practicing at Baylor University Medical Center, joins us to share some of the common things that happen to women after childbirth that we don’t necessarily account for.

WHY DO WOMEN OFTEN UNDERESTIMATE THE PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL CHANGES AFTER HAVING A BABY?

For so long, women have been taught to not express some of their feelings after delivery of a baby and often some women underestimate the transition.

WHAT IS POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION? WHO CAN IT HAPPEN TO?

It happens to more women than you think, PPD can affect 1 in 7 women. Around one in seven women will experience something more extreme than the typical baby blues. Women that give birth and struggle with sadness, anxiety or worry for several weeks or more may have postpartum depression (PPD).

The following factors can also increase one’s risk:

  • Hormonal changes that follow childbirth
  • Emotional stressors, including financial strain, job changes, illness, or the death of a loved one
  • Changes in social relationships, or lack of a strong support network
  • Raising a child with special needs or an infant that is challenging to care for
  • Having a family history of mental health issues

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST COMMON SYMPTOMS,  FROM MILD TO SEVERE?

  • Feeling down or depressed for most of the day for several weeks or more
  • Feeling distant and withdrawn from family and friends
  • A loss of interest in activities (including sex)
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • Feeling tired most of the day
  • Feeling angry or irritable
  • Having feelings of anxiety, worry, panic attacks or racing thoughts

WHAT SHOULD WOMEN DO IF THEY THINK THEY ARE SUFFERING FROM POSTPARTUM?

Definitely talk to someone! Especially a health care provider so they can sort out what steps to take next. Women can talk to their OB/GYN when they go back to visit, the pediatrician when making a visit with the baby, a psychologist or even a family member. There are also resources and websites that are geared to help women with their recovery and emotions

WHAT CAN WOMEN EXPECT FROM THE RECOVERY PROCESS AFTER THEY HAVE A BABY? WHAT RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE FOR RECOVERY?

Possible changes in mood, bladder function, libido, bleeding issues, vaginal pain or even pain with sex. Vaginal rejuvenation is great for women who experience issues with their bladder function, libido and vaginal pain and this can be done in the office! Some may know it as a laser-based vaginal tightening procedure.

A laser fiber is placed through a small puncture and used to shrink the tissues around the vagina. This procedure relies on your body’s natural healing and ability to create new collagen which helps restore the vagina!

IS IT TRUE THAT WOMEN CAN HAVE BLADDER PROBLEMS AFTER THE DELIVERY?  WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN AND WHO SHOULD THEY TELL?

Women can suffer from light bladder leakage and up to 1 in 4 women have experienced light bladder leakage at some point. After delivery, it can happen but many times it goes away.

THERE IS A DEBATE ON BREAST VS BOTTLE FEEDING, WHAT CAN YOU ADD TO THIS DEBATE?

Well, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend a full year of breast-feeding, and earlier this year the World Health Organization called for at least six months of breast-feeding.

WHO research showed that exclusive breast-feeding for six months, without supplemental formula, decreases diarrhea and respiratory and ear infections, and improves brain growth.

However, there are many reasons babies are not breast-fed and that is OK! The idea is that we have healthy babies and if your baby is not breast-fed, the baby can still have a healthy life and thrive. The benefits of breastfeeding are numerous, however do not feel a sense of failure if it cannot be accomplished or if that’s not what you choose. Breast might be best, but it’s not the only way.

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