NUS Study: Peer Support Can Help Reduce The Risk Of Postpartum Depression In New Mums

Sameer C
·5-min read

Postpartum period can be a challenging time. You go through a range of emotions during this period right from joy to fear to sadness. It’s also the time when mothers can feel emotionally low. If unchecked, these feelings may become overpowering and result in postnatal or postpartum depression.

While fairly common, to recover from postpartum depression, new mums need emotional care and support, not just from their partner and family, but also one more special person.

Peer Pressure Helps New Mums Deal With Postnatal Depression

how to deal with postnatal depression
how to deal with postnatal depression

Image courtesy: iStock

A recent study conducted by the National University of Singapore (NUS) Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies, on how to deal with postnatal depression, states that peer support is essential for recovery. So it’s not just your partner or family who’ll be able to help you get through this phase faster.

The study conducted between 2018 and 2020, involved 138 Singaporean mothers at risk of developing postnatal depression. All the women were patients at the National University Hospital. The study divided the women into two groups of 69 each. While one group received peer support for one month after delivery, the other group received only standard hospital care.

Each new mother was paired up with a volunteer, a mother who previously dealt with and recovered from postnatal depression. The study matched the women based on factors including ethnicity, age, and background. Twenty volunteers participated in the study and were trained by a psychiatrist. They also learnt specialised skills to help emotionally distressed mothers.

New Mums Prefer Texting Over Calls To Speak To Their Peers

how to deal with postnatal depression
how to deal with postnatal depression

Image Source: Pexels

The study further reveals new mothers preferred text messages over phone calls with their volunteers.

It further revealed that new mothers receiving peer support over text messages had a 20 percent reduction in the risk of developing postpartum depression. There was also a nine percent reduction in postpartum anxiety and an eight percent reduction in feeling lonely three months after childbirth.

The new mothers with peer support wanted a longer follow-up period with their peer volunteers beyond the one month study.

NUS says that it plans to extend the follow-up period from one to six months for the study. The findings of the study will help in developing a mobile app that will make peer support more accessible to new mothers.

Researcher Shefaly Shorey, an assistant professor at the NUS Alice Lee Centre for nursing studies, is using the findings of the study to develop a mobile app designed to make peer support accessible to new mothers.

5 Ways To Cope With Postnatal Depression

how to deal with postnatal depression
how to deal with postnatal depression

Image courtesy: iStock

The study brings forth the power of peers that understand the stress you are under and guide you in the right way over family and friends. At the same time, new mums will have to take charge of their lives to deal with postnatal depression. Here are five ways that elaborate on how you can deal with postnatal depression after delivery.

1. Exercise

As basic as it may sound but exercise not only helps you get in shape, physically, but will also keep you mentally healthy.

Take a walk, push the baby stroller, or join a workout regime of your liking. Keeping yourself physically active after delivery can have an antidepressant effect is a good start to beat postnatal depression.

2. Eat well

Your body loses a lot of strength after delivery and you need to rebuild your strength to support your mind. Acquire the habit of eating nutritious foods that give your body all the important vitamins.

You can plan your meals beforehand to make them a bit more interesting and also prepare healthy snack options. Options like chopped carrots and cubed cheese, apple slices and peanut butter, are easy to binge on without having to worry too much about fat.

3. Give yourself ‘Me’ time

how to deal with postnatal depression
how to deal with postnatal depression

Image Source: Pexels

Having a baby can feel like the end of privacy in your life. It becomes the priority in your life. This can leave you with little time for yourself. Which is why, this is the phase of your life where you should reach out to your friends and family who can lend a hand with the baby.

Even if you manage to find some “me time” at least once a week, you can concentrate on yourself. Watch that TV show you’ve been meaning to catch up on, take a walk, or do yoga. You can also nap while enjoying the silence when the baby is away with a trusted family member or friend.

4. Avoid isolation

Mothers dealing with postnatal depression may have an urge to isolate themselves during this period. A study by the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry states that speaking to someone about your feelings can help shift your mood.

The study also supports the peer support theory and says that new mothers showed lower levels of depression after staying in touch with experienced mothers who dealt with postnatal depression in the past.

5. Seek help from a professional

Sometimes postnatal depression is just a phase while there are times when mothers need help from professionals. It’s completely normal to seek help from therapists and counsellors. Speak to your gynaecologist about the things that are bothering you and they will be able to guide you on the same.

Postnatal depression is a part of the birthing process and all it needs is support from everyone around the mother to help her recover.

News Source: Today Online

ALSO READ:

Fathers Suffer From Postnatal Depression Too, Here’s How To Spot It

Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga: Benefits and Guidelines for Safe Practices

The post NUS Study: Peer Support Can Help Reduce The Risk Of Postpartum Depression In New Mums appeared first on theAsianparent - Your Guide to Pregnancy, Baby & Raising Kids.