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Why it’s important to track your mood postpartum

After giving birth, you’ll likely experience mood swings. And because these emotions can ebb and flow, it’s important to check in with how you’re feeling every day to better understand the bigger picture of your mental health. 

By checking in every day, you can identify whether or not your negative feelings are prolonged and/or severe. When you’re wrapped up with getting through each day, it can be hard to recognize the ways your feelings have intensified, lessened, or changed over time. Tracking every day provides you with an opportunity to be in touch with how you’re doing and flag potential issues for your provider. 

“When you’re 100% devoted to taking care of your newborn and you’re not sleeping well or eating well or even showering, it can be hard to remember if you felt this way yesterday or if you’ve been feeling sad all the time,” Ovia Health Coach, Lilly Schott, explains. That’s why, she says, tracking your mood changes can give you more perspective on how you’re really feeling day-to-day. 

Below, learn more about tracking your postpartum mental health.

Tracking your mood postpartum

Tracking how you’re feeling emotionally every day gives you a safe place to acknowledge what you’re going through. 

On a Monday, you might mark down that you’re having a really hard day. You’re sad and tired and feeling lonely. You might also look back at the last four days and realize you were feeling great. This can be an indicator that your negative feelings aren’t necessarily persistent. “Maybe it means you need extra sleep this afternoon. Maybe you need to reach out for help,” Schott says. 

What moods can I expect?

From sadness and loneliness to calmness and confidence, postpartum feelings can range over a short period of time. Two common aspects of the postpartum period are the baby blues and postpartum depression. “As many as 50 to 75% of new mothers experience a shift in their emotions called the ‘baby blues’ after delivery. Up to 15% of these people will develop a more severe and longer-lasting depression, called postpartum depression,” according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Baby blues

These are mood swings that typically occur during the first two weeks after childbirth. Hormonal changes have a lot to do with these feelings of sadness. The symptoms do not interfere with the way new parents live their lives and often resolve on their own. While the baby blues are common, it’s important that you don’t write off more severe symptoms of postpartum depression as normal aspects of the postpartum period. 

Postpartum depression

PPD is more severe. These thoughts and feelings of sadness can last a year or longer. Symptoms may include frequent crying, fatigue, guilt, anxiety, and/or difficulties caring for baby. Hormonal changes also have a lot to do with these feelings, but there are options to help you feel better. Reach out to your provider right away if you’re concerned you might have postpartum depression. 

Less talked about postpartum feelings

The more talked about postpartum feelings include sadness and anxiety. But other common feelings include loneliness and nostalgia for your life pre-baby. “Those feelings of isolation are universal, even if you have a great support system. Making connections with other parents can help you feel a lot less lonely,” Schott says. 

On the other hand, many people also experience positive feelings like calmness and focus. “I talk to plenty of people postpartum who say they feel amazing,” Schott says. 

Everyone feels different postpartum, which is why it’s important to track those feelings in your Ovia app or in a journal and determine the best healing journey for you. 

Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team

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