Battling the "Baby Blues"

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Saying the first weeks of motherhood can be overwhelming is a total understatement. Your life has changed, your body has changed and there's this new little person who's totally depending on you for his very survival. Between the very real upheaval in your daily life and the rush of post-pregnancy hormones, many women end up going through some pretty tough emotional times.

Fortunately, new research has shown that there is a simple way to help you cope and possibly even prevent these lows. A recent study has shown women who have strong networks of emotional support have a lower risk of postpartum depression. Feeling understood, accepted and cared for helped the women in the study stay emotionally and physically healthy, which was good for them and their babies and resulted in lower incidences of postpartum depression.

How can you make sure you're surrounded by plenty of support? Start with your partner and other family members, before and after baby's arrival. Have someone come to your checkups with you; take a birthing class with your partner; read pregnancy books together. Make sure your nearest and dearest understand and empathize with what you're going through. Don't be afraid to talk to them when you're scared or anxious about becoming a parent!

If you don't have family close by, try to create your own support network. Consider joining a prenatal yoga or lamaze class to meet other moms-to-be. Your community might have new moms' groups, too (your local birthing center might have information on this, or check out pregnancy.meetup.com to see what's happening in your area). Even participating in an online pregnancy and parenting community can create a sense of belonging and friendship. The point is to become part of a community that makes you feel comfortable, valued and listened to -- which will help prevent postpartum depression.