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Maintaining social relations is the key to preventing baby blues

Having a baby is a happy event for everyone. However, it is often followed by some depression symptoms – it is often called “baby blues”. Postnatal depression is a serious condition and really takes away from the enjoyment of having a baby. Now scientists from University of Queensland say that they know a way to prevent baby blues from happening.

Having a baby should bring joy, but some women experience severe depression after giving birth. Image credit: D. Sharon Pruitt via Wikimedia, CC BY 2.0

According to their research, women should embrace a new role with a more positive attitude and try to stay connected with their social groups more tightly. Researchers gathered data from 387 women who had given birth in the previous 12 months and found that those women, who isolated themselves more, faced depression symptoms more often. Furthermore, those who did manage to stay connected with their social groups, have much better mental health. Finally, those women, who identified as mothers strongly and were positive about it, were much less likely to experience postnatal depression. So it is all about attitude.

Obviously, maintaining interaction with friends and colleagues is difficult after having a baby. In fact, most women experience isolation from their usual social groups after giving birth. It is because women have to leave their work, at least temporarily, have a lot of new responsibilities to deal with and often feel too tired to look for communication with their friends and colleagues. Having in mind that there is a link between the lack of social interaction and depression, it is not that surprising that as much as 10-20 % of new mothers experience postnatal depression. This should be noted by their friends – sometimes it would be better if they put more efforts in staying in touch.

Symptoms of baby blues include depressed mood, anxiety, fatigue, compulsive thoughts, loss of control, feelings of inadequacy, irrational fears, and some others. It is really not easy to cope alone and the lack of social interaction, along new responsibilities, is not helping either. Mothers who are feeling any of these symptoms should seek for help – there are ways to aid them in this very difficult period. The author of the study will now attempt creating a special program, which will aim at helping new mothers stay connected with the groups that matter to them.

However, one should look around and see if there is an empty chair at the usual gathering of friends. Close ones should step forward and show some care for the new mothers. The feeling of isolation is one of the worst ones that can be experienced during these times.

Source: uq.edu.au

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