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5 Tips to help Prevent Postpartum Depression

mental heatlh postpartum pregnancy Sep 23, 2020

Whether you are struggling with mental health concerns, wanting to avoid them or just a normal human being this blog post is for you!

We are reviewing self-care...what that is...why WE ALL NEED TO DO IT! And how do we put that into practice in our lives!

What is Self Care?

Self Care is the act of making positive changes in your life that will help you cope with stressful periods, and help to treat or prevent depression and anxiety. 

Self Care is often neglected or not prioritized during the pregnant and postpartum period! 

Here is the podcast that accompanies this blog!! 



NESTS Program:

This is a simple acronym that details all the steps to start with your self care routine! 

N - Nutrition

Food is medicine….we all know this...but having healthy meals and snacks ready is a challenge at times, especially when you are adjusting to a time of caring for a newborn and adjusting to your new life as a family! 

Tips to improve your nutrition….

  1. Check out our Youtube Video on Preparing for Postpartum
  2. Make a favourites list at your grocery store for delivery or pick up that you can easily order if you are short on time
  3. Grab a list of your favourite take out restaurants
  4. Keep a Pinterest list of your favourite healthy easy to prepare recipes, and share this list with people who offer to cook for you so they can make you food you like (and be specific about what you would like people to cook for you!)
  5. When you are cooking meals in pregnancy, cook extra and freeze it. Make quick easy snacks that you can freeze and grab easily! 

E - Exercise

Good research shows that exercise helps boost mood and energy levels, improve sleep, clear the mind and increase self-confidence.  

We also know that it helps with regular aches and pains in pregnancy and improves the postpartum recovery! 

Tips to implement exercise: 

  1. Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week. 
  2. Start with what you are able to do...even if it is only 5 minutes at a time
  3. Do it with a friend...get your support in at the same time! 
  4. Check out these at-home exercises you can easily do! 

S- Sleep/Rest

Sleep is so important to our mental and physical well being.  It can be so challenging with the discomforts of pregnancy and during the postpartum period. 

Prioritize sleep when you can, over the dishes, over the laundry!  You will be more efficient in your tasks if you have rested! 

Tips to improve sleep:

  1. Create a plan with your partner/support person to allow you to sleep/rest
    1. They can take the baby for a walk in the morning while you sleep
    2. They can take the baby to watch a movie after the evening feed while you put some earplugs in and a sleep mask on and go to sleep
    3. You can pump some milk and partner can feed the baby a couple of nights a week so you can get a couple of longer stretches
  2. When your baby naps, have a nap or lay down to rest during at least one of these naps a day! 
  3. Talk to your support people about how they can help you with tasks that you can’t rest while it is not that dishes, laundry, playing with an older child.  We all have those things that drive us bonkers that we can’t rest until they are done...and explain this to your partner/support person so they understand why you are asking them to do this.
  4. Hire a postpartum doula to come over and help around the house and with your baby so you can get some rest. 
  5. Understand what newborn sleep looks like! So you are aware of how to support them to sleep better.  Get our top 5 Tips for Newborn Sleep Here!  
  6. Or if you want a more in-depth look at Newborn Sleep check out our Newborn Sleep 101 course here


T-Time for Self:

It is so important to stay connected with who we are as individuals to be a good parent, a good partner and a good friend.

But it is also a busy time and postpartum people often say they don’t have time to do you need to be creative about how you can accomplish this. 

You would be surprised at how little time you actually need to recharge and reconnect with yourself! It can be as little as a 15-minute flow yoga, or 10 minutes while drinking a coffee flipping through your favourite magazine.  

Tips for Time for self:

  1. Think about what your favourite things to do are, what helps re-energize you and reconnect to who you are as a person.  Think of one thing you can do in 5-15 minutes and one thing that you can do in 1-2 hours. 
  2. Re-prioritize your standards...or outsource things you do not like to do but need to get done.  Ask a support person to come to fold laundry, or tidy the kitchen if that is something they like to do while visiting with you.  Order in meals a couple of times a week if you do not like to cook.  Leave the laundry in piles on your couch!! 
  3. When your baby is napping or happily content, take 5-15 minutes to do something for yourself! 
  4. Discuss with your partner/support person how you can carve out 1-2 hours a week to do something for yourself - go to a yoga class, meet a friend for a hike, read a book, do some painting..whatever it is for you!  This also gives your partner some dedicated one on one time with the baby, which they often don’t get, and they love!

S- Support:

Ask for support, surround yourself with a useful community. Be specific in your requests and accept help when it is offered. 

Tips for Support:

  1. Think of the people who are a good support to you in specific ways, and asking them for this support before the postpartum period.  Ie your aunt who is an amazing cook, your mother who is great at mowing the lawn and gardening, your best friend who is great for a chat or a walk.  If you are uncomfortable about asking for support, ask your best friend or partner to ask these people for help for you! 
    1. Four main types of support:
      1. Emotional (someone to talk to who is not going to judge you)
      2. Social (a group of people you like spending time with)
      3. Practical (cooking meals, doing laundry, walking the dog, childcare for an older child)
      4. Professional (counsellor, doctor, midwife, doula, Nurse practitioner etc)
  2. Say yes to support that is helpful to you!

There you have it!  A few tips to help you prepare for the postpartum period, and to help aid in the prevention and treatment of depression and anxiety in pregnancy and postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety.  We are all at risk for these diseases, but we can help manage and prevent them by taking care of ourselves and by surrounding ourselves with a supportive community! 


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