October 4, 2022

8 Tips for Dealing with Postpartum Anxiety

by Psych Times Staff

Having a new baby is one of the craziest experiences a person can have. So is the postpartum anxiety that 1 in 6 moms suffer (often) silently from. 

If you’ve been wildly anxious since your baby’s birth, from excessive worrying about your newborn to physical symptoms like chest-clenching nervousness and panic attacks, you may have postpartum anxiety. Luckily, there are ways you can manage your mental health with and without medication. 

Here are 8 tips for dealing with postpartum anxiety

Join A=a Support Group

It’s helpful to be with others going through the same thing. Joining a support group for moms experiencing postpartum anxiety is an excellent way to talk with other new parents about feeling moody, overwhelmed, and overall anxious all the time. 

Many groups are free to join. For example, search “postpartum anxiety support group” in the Facebook search bar or choose from a free online support meeting through Postpartum Support International

Journal

Ruminating (thinking negative thoughts repeatedly) is a symptom of anxiety, and it’s not helpful for your postpartum anxiety to do this. But, it can be hard to stop, especially in the moment. One thing you can do is release your racing thoughts through journaling

Because when you write out your thoughts, it helps you see them more clearly. This helps you identify true versus untrue thoughts, pinpoint your problems, solutions, fears, and practice self-love and compassion. Journaling also helps calm your nervous system.  

Get Help From Family and Friends 

Don’t deal with postpartum anxiety alone. If you have family and friends nearby, reach out to them for help. Many new moms don’t want to ask for assistance for fear of feeling like a failure, but there’s no way to do it all alone! And, it would help if you had time away from your child to rest and recharge. 

Eat Healthy 

Studies show that our diet impacts our health, and a poor diet can lead to anxiety and depression. Plus, nutritional deficiencies make postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression worse. 

Eat plenty of protein to help stabilize your mood and assist your body in creating more feel-good hormones like serotonin and dopamine. You should also eat lots of leafy greens and foods rich in omega-3 (like eggs, fish, and tofu), which slashes postpartum anxiety symptoms. 

Lastly, cut out sugar and gluten-heavy grains, which drain your energy and imbalance your gut. Your immune system relies heavily on your gut health.  

Exercise  

Postpartum exercise is not only a great distraction from rumination but gets fresh blood flowing through your body. This gives you more energy while calming your nervous system. Plus, your endorphin levels increase, which helps squash stress and worry. 

Sleep More

Another tip for dealing with postpartum anxiety is to sleep more. Yes, getting some shut-eye can feel almost impossible when you’ve got a newborn nearby, but sleep deprivation worsens postpartum anxiety. 

Create a calming bedtime routine and follow it as best as possible, even if your baby is going to wake you for a feed in 40 minutes. Sleep when your baby sleeps, and recalibrate your circadian rhythm by going for a morning stroll with fresh sunshine.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 

Many women find talk therapy helpful in healing postpartum anxiety. An effective yet common type of talk therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), in which you work with a therapist to help change how you think and react to your thoughts.

Studies show that symptoms of postpartum anxiety decrease and are less likely to crop up again while in or after completing CBT. Postpartum OCD also has been shown to decrease with CBT. 

Medication 

Doctors often prescribe antidepressants to combat postpartum anxiety, as anxiety and depression often coexist, especially in people with a history of anxiety. Medication often includes selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), like Zoloft, Paxil, and Prozac. 

However, some medications are safer for breastfeeding than others, so always consult your doctor. 

Final Thoughts

The ability to deal with postpartum anxiety doesn’t come easily, but believe that you can get through this anxious postpartum period. Try to eat healthily, sleep more, and journal your thoughts and feelings to release negative tension and no-good worries. And don’t hesitate to reach out for help or seek medical treatment if you think it’s more than the baby blues.  

What tips do you have for dealing with postpartum anxiety?


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