We are honored to care for your little one here in the UAMS NICU. We know that being in the NICU can be very stressful for you and your family, and the NICU staff are here to support you through your NICU journey.
Your health is very important to us because it can affect your desire and ability to care for your baby. We want to help you feel your best! Premature delivery, hormone changes in your body, lack of good sleep, and anxiety about your baby can put you at risk for postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is common, and it is nothing to feel guilty about or ashamed of.
We provide a screening tool used to help detect postpartum depression to every mom in our unit after their child has been in the NICU for 2-3 weeks.
If you have any questions about the screening, please contact one of our social workers or your discharge coordinator. You can also speak with your baby’s nurse or doctor.
If you would like to see a professional for help with this or any other issue, you can call 501-526-8201 to set up an appointment.
If you have thoughts of harming yourself or anyone else please seek immediate attention in our Emergency Room here at UAMS.
Call 800-273-8255 for the suicide prevention line.
Is it more than baby blues?
Pregnancy and postpartum mood and anxiety disorders affect the whole family. Here are some tips that might help you along the way. Remember that you will get through this with help and support. There is no magic cure, and sometimes recovery seems slow, but things will keep improving if you stick to a plan of healthcare, support, and communication.
Common Symptoms of Perinatal Depression and Anxiety
- Feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and insecure
- Crying spells, sadness, hopelessness
- Anger, irritability, frustration
- Repetitive fears and worries
Taking Care of Your Stress and Emotions
- Ask for help, information, and support for yourself. Call POSTPARTUM SUPPORT INTERNATIONAL at 1-800-944-4773 or visit www.postpartum.net to connect with a volunteer to aid you in getting help near you.
- Develop a support team for your family. Ask for help. Say YES when they offer.
- Take time for yourself.
- Talk to other families who have come through this.
- Spend time with your baby to develop your own confidence.
How to Help Mom
- Reassure her: this is not her fault; she is not alone; she will get better.
- Encourage her to talk about her feelings and listen without judgment.
- Help with housework before she asks you.
- Encourage her to take time for herself. Breaks are a necessity; fatigue is a major contributing factor to worsening symptoms.
- Don’t expect her to be super-housewife just because she’s home all day.
- Be realistic about what time you’ll be home, and come home on time.
- Help her reach out to others for support and treatment.
- Schedule some dates with her and work together to find a babysitter.
- Offer simple affection and physical comfort, but be patient if she is not up for sex. It’s normal for her to have a low sex drive with depression, and rest and recovery will help to bring it back.
Dealing With Her Anger and Irritability
- Do what you can to make sure she eats regularly throughout the day, because low blood sugar results in a low mood and frustration. Have healthy and easy snacks on hand.
- Do your best to listen for the real request at the heart of her frustration. Reduce conflict by telling her, “I know we can work this out. I am listening.”
- Keep the lines of communication open. Verbalize your feelings instead of distancing from her. It is helpful to take a break if your tempers are hot, but do get back to communicating.
- If she is expressing anger in such a way that you can’t stay supportive, you might say something like, “I want to listen to you. I know this is important, but I’m having a hard time because you’re so mad at me. Can we take a break and talk about it later?”
- Ask her how you can help right now. If she doesn’t know, make some suggestions.
Dads/partners Can Get Postpartum Depression and Baby Blues Too!
The information was developed by: POSTPARTUM SUPPORT INTERNATIONAL
Do I have postpartum depression?
This checklist will help you start a conversation with your doctor. Check the ones that best describe your experience and take it with you to share with your doctor at your next visit.
In the Past Two Weeks, How Often Have You
- Felt sad, low, worthless, depressed or hopeless?
- Cried more than normal?
- Felt little interest in doing things you used to enjoy?
- Had trouble falling or staying asleep, or slept too much?
- Felt more tired than usual or had little energy?
- Had a poor appetite or been eating too much?
- Had trouble concentrating, thinking, or making decisions?
- Worried that you might hurt yourself or felt like you wanted to die?
Trying to get pregnant, being pregnant, or the birth of a baby can increase the risk of depression.
The Following Experiences May Increase Your Risk for Depression
- Having a hard time getting pregnant
- Having twins or triplets
- Losing a baby
- Having a baby as a teen
- Having a baby before 38 weeks, or at too low a birth weight
- Having a baby who is different/with birth defects
- Cesarean Birth
What is Depression?
Many women experience depression. Depression has symptoms, just like any other illnesses, including:
- A low or sad mood
- Loss of interest in fun activities
- Changes in eating, sleep, and energy
- Problems in thinking, concentrating, and making decisions
- Feelings of worthlessness, shame or guilt
- Thoughts that life is not worth living
When many of these symptoms occur together and last for more than a week or two, this is depression.
Postpartum Depression is Depression That Occurs After Having a Baby.
The symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to symptoms for depression, but they also include:
- Trouble sleeping when your baby is sleeping (more than the lack of sleep new moms usually experience!)
- Feeling numb or disconnected from your baby
- Having scary or negative thoughts about the baby, like thinking someone will take your baby away or hurt your baby
- Worrying that you will hurt your baby even though you never would
- Feeling guilty about not being a good mom, or ashamed that you cannot care for your baby
That Sounds Like Me. What Should I Do?
Depression is common. If you are worried about the way you have been feeling, it is important to speak with a doctor and tell them about your concerns. Your doctor can help you figure out if you have depression or not, and they will help you find the best treatment. Many women feel this way,
you are not alone. There are treatments to help you feel better. Talk to your doctor so you can feel like yourself again!
If I Don’t Do Anything About Your Depression, Will It Eventually Go Away on Its Own?
The best way to deal with depression is to see a doctor or a counselor. The earlier you seek help, the better you and your baby will do. When left untreated, depression can hurt the mother and her baby. Mothers who are depressed often have a hard time adjusting to their new roles and attaching
emotionally to their babies. Babies of depressed mothers are often fussier and have more difficulties later in life-things like doing well in school, relating to others, and adjusting to new situations. It is possible that depression could eventually go away without any help. However, it could take a long time and might cause a lot of extra problems for the mother and the baby. It could also get worse, instead of better.
Depression is treatable, but not if you don’t seek help. Talk to your doctor today.
if you feel that you may have postpartum depression please call toll-free: 1-866-273-3835
This information was developed by: CDC