Women who have welcomed an addition to their families during the COVID-19 pandemic are facing unique challenges, in more ways than one.

In particular, social distancing guidelines have resulted in many women reducing their support system during the all-important “fourth trimester.” The fourth trimester includes countless changes that a woman’s body – and life – endure in the weeks following delivery.

“First and foremost, postpartum depression is common. 80% of women suffer from postpartum blues, that sadness and anxiety experienced in the first two weeks following delivery. These emotions are often triggered by hormonal shifts and lack of regulated sleep.

As doctors, we treat postpartum depression as a very real medical condition. It tends to be diagnosed two weeks following delivery up until one year postpartum. Most obstetricians, myself included, have screening tools they use during postpartum visits to help with diagnoses. Several pediatric practices have adopted these tools to help their at-risk patients as well.” 

Lynn-Marie Aronica, MD

OB/GYN, Trinity Medical OB/GYN

How to Combat Postpartum Depression

COVID-19 has created a very unconventional environment for the birth of a new baby. Dr. Aronica shares the advice she has been giving to new mothers: “COVID has changed a lot of what we can do,” she says. “but for a new mother, that might not be all that bad, after all.”

1

Rest when the baby rests.

2

Have one primary caregiver, besides mom.

Due to health concerns because of COVID-19, all other visitors should wait at least 30 days postpartum for the safety of the baby. Not only is this COVID safe, but it allows for more rest, and less of struggle to entertain guests and appear “perfect” to others. 

3

If you’re breastfeeding, take care. If not, don’t fret. 

Breastfeeding in the first two weeks is a challenge, even for veteran mamas. Remember: rest, hydration, and online support (videos, blogs, support groups) will be helpful.

Not everyone loves breastfeeding or can breastfeed – and that’s ok. Reminding yourself of this is a good way to decrease fears and anxieties.

4

This is a time for grace.

Allow yourself time to learn and heal. 

5

Good nutrition is important, the rush to lose baby weight is not.

The media has given such a false expectation of what we need to look like “post-baby.” I remind patients it took 10 months to put on the weight – and it will take 10 months to take it off. It is unhealthy and potentially harmful to lose weight too rapidly. And, any depletion of nutrition can affect breast milk supply.

“At our practice, we try to touch base at the two-week mark to “check in” with mom and see how she’s doing,” Dr. Aronica says of herself and her colleagues at Trinity OB/GYN. “If patients are feeling depressed or anxious, we encourage them to set up telehealth appointments with their OB.” 

View a listing of all of our Trinity OB/GYN providers here.

Find an OB/GYN Near You
Call (716) 923-7152

Find an OB/GYN Near You
Call (716) 923-7152