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RambleNew mums have a particular look – a harassed, exhausted, exasperated kind of look. Circles under the eyes are evidence of fatigue caused by sleepless nights, anxiety and of course, the tiring process of childbirth.
Recently, I saw a first-time, new mum and her baby; while the baby was a perfect little darling, the young woman was showing signs of the notorious ‘baby blues’. She confessed that she felt pulled down and weepy. She said she couldn’t understand why and was overwhelmed by the whole experience of motherhood – all very natural.

Mood swings, anxiety, irritability and weepiness caused by hormonal changes, exhaustion and the overwhelming responsibility of caring for a tiny being are all signs of postpartum blues, a common side effect of child birth.
I have been told by several patients that they feel a sense of helplessness and loss of control due to factors such as “feeling ugly” because of weight gain. Anxiety about the ability to nurse and attached social/family pressure is another common factor (anxiety is known to adversely affect breast milk supply), as is not having sufficient familial and spousal support.

Being a mum is not easy, but as I tell my patients, it should not be an ordeal either and the key is to not neglect oneself. The first step to feeling good is a balanced and nutritious diet to nourish the body, help it heal and stay energetic without piling on more pounds. Recommended are plenty of fluids especially water to hydrate and keep away urinary tract infections (UTI), eating fibre to regulate bowel movement and enlisting the help of family to baby-sit.

So new mums, get some rest, pamper yourselves and enjoy your little angels.

Note: If untreated, a simple case of postpartum blues can develop into a chronic case of depression. It is important to visit a doctor if the blues last longer than a couple of weeks.

– Dr Samia Babar
The writer is Director, Health Awareness Society.

First published in the Health Advertiser Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser

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