Postpartum Blues on the Rise Due to COVID-19 Outdoor Activities May Help

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Postpartum
Image Courtesy of Nenad Stojkovic (Flickr CC0)

Most people know that depression can feel different for everyone. Some people may experience few symptoms others suffer from an array of symptoms. Postpartum depression happens after a woman gives birth to her new darling baby. These feelings are more intense and last longer than that of “baby blues.” This is a term to describe the tiredness, sadness, and the worry many new mothers experience after having a baby.

Postpartum depression can look extremely similar to “normal” depression. However, it could also include:

  • Withdrawing from family and friends.
  • Crying more often than usual.
  • Feeling distant from newborn infants.
  • Feeling excessively anxious or worried.
  • Thoughts of hurting the infant or oneself.
  • Feelings of anger for no reason.
  • Doubting one’s ability to care for the newborn child.
Postpartum
Image Courtesy of Mohammed Mustafa (Flickr CC0)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of every eight new mothers experience symptoms of postpartum. California News-Times states that around 15 percent of all postpartum sufferers prevailed over their depression in a short time. However, they noted that new mothers may experience their depression up to a year after their child is born.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused new worries for soon-to-be and new mothers. Before the pandemic, around 15 report postpartum depression while 29 percent of all new mothers reported moderate to severe symptoms from postpartum depression.

A little more than a year into the pandemic has increased these reports to are around 41 percent and 72 percent. That is a major jump in statistics.

Many mothers who experience postpartum depression have found that physical activity can help alleviate their depression symptoms. Of course, researchers have found that physical activity can help anyone who struggles with any type of depression. One study has shown that a 45-minute exercise session can lower one’s anxiety levels.

This could be due to the fact that exercising can release feel-good endorphins called endogenous cannabinoids. This is a natural cannabis-like chemical the human brain produces. Exercising also enhances other natural brain chemicals that can make people feel better.

Regular exercise can take one’s mind off of their worries. This allows them to cycle off of the negative thoughts that can cause them to feel anxiety and depression.

Postpartum depression suffers have found that taking a hike or a walk can help them feel fewer symptoms. Of course, if a new mother is experiencing postpartum depression they should let their health care providers — and loved ones — know so they can receive the additional support they may need.

Written by Sheena Robertson

Sources:

CDC: Depression During and After Pregnancy

Mayo Clinic: Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms

California News-Times: Outdoor exercise benefits new moms’ mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic; by Leo Peebles

Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Nenad Stojkovic’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

Inset Image Courtesy of Mohammed Mustafa’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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