Best Valentine’s Day Gifts Ideas For Pregnant Mums

Valentine’s Day is the one day of the year we go above and beyond to show our special someone how much we care about them. For many couples, it’s really special – and even more so when you’re expecting a baby! 

It’s easy for all the focus to be on the baby during pregnancy, so it’s important to show your partner you cherish her for the amazing person she is and remember why you fell in love with her in the first place. 

There are many questions about the origins of Valentine’s Day. Some suggest a festival of Ancient Rome called Lupercalia celebrating the coming of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Others believe it’s named after a number of Christian martyrs.

It wasn’t until the 14th century that Valentine’s Day was celebrated as a day for romance and lovers. And the angst of what to surprise your beloved with as a gift has probably not changed!

To help out, we’ve put together this list of best Valentine’s Day gifts for pregnant mums, to surprise and delight your partner. 

Maternity pillow

Getting a good night’s sleep is so important for everyone, whether you’re pregnant or not. But it’s not that easy for your pregnant partner to get proper rest because finding a comfortable position is challenging. 

A pregnancy or maternity pillow is giving her the gift of restful nights, which will help her to feel good during the days too. The pillow can be used long after she’s pregnant too, which shows how much you care. 

Nurtured Birth knows exactly how important a restful sleep is to pregnant women, which is why we stock the Dentons Pregnancy Pillow as we believe it’s the best in supporting a good night’s sleep. 

Prenatal massage

There’s something very special about spoiling your partner with some time on the massage table. 

Pregnancy is exciting, but all those changes can mean she’s not as comfortable, both physically and emotionally.

Massage therapy provides a nurturing space where your partner is the focus – and all the tension in her muscles and any stresses melt away. Massage during pregnancy enhances mood, reduces pain and swelling, and can have a positive impact on her birth experience. 

Surprise your pregnant partner with a luxurious Valentine’s Day massage by booking a session with Nurtured Birth’s certified prenatal massage therapists, who are specially trained to address pregnancy needs. 

Maternity photoshoot

Memorialise this special time in your lives and organise a professional maternity photoshoot for your partner. 

Not only will you look back and remember this Valentine’s Day forever, your partner will remember feeling beautiful and special, which she is! 

If the photographer you hire doesn’t organise this, book a hair and make up stylist too, to really make your partner feel pampered and amazing. 

Maternity underwear

As your partner’s body changes, you might notice she starts to feel unattractive, frumpy and ugly. It really is a challenge at times to feel that pregnancy glow. 

Make your pregnant partner feel as beautiful as you see her with a gift of gorgeous maternity underwear. Choose colours and fabrics that will make her feel special when she wears them. 

If lingerie isn’t her thing, maybe pajamas or a robe that she can wear after she gives birth as well. Look for luxe, breathable fabrics that will feel good next to her skin. 

Hire a cleaner 

Perhaps this seems like a very unromantic idea but we promise, giving your pregnant partner the gift of a clean home she hasn’t had to lift a finger to tidy herself will make her day! 

Make it special by organising the cleaner to come while you whisk your partner off and spoil her with delicious food, a movie or even a night away. 

Imagine her surprise and joy when she gets home to a clean house! Top it off with a vase of beautiful flowers and a gift certificate for another clean in the future when she needs some me-time. 

Spa day 

Go all out and surprise your pregnant partner with a day spa package, including pregnancy safe treatments such as a facial, manicure and pedicure.

Remember to tell the spa company your partner is pregnant, so avoid treatments that could raise her body temperature with excess heat such as saunas or body wraps. 

At home spa day

If your pregnant partner isn’t up for leaving the house, why not bring a day spa to her. There’s nothing like getting a personally curated gift pack of your favourite things, such as bath salts, gorgeous candles and some yummy nibbles. 

Transform your bathroom into a beautiful relaxing space, with scented candles and lush towels ready. Include a bath caddy brimming with her favourite nibbles and reading material, salts and dried flower petals to be added to the bath water.

Afterwards, continue the at home spa treatment with a loving massage using pregnancy friendly essential oils, and a mini pedi. 

A pamper pack can include whatever your partner loves, such as essential oils or candles for burning, salts for a foot soak or bath, a gorgeous heat pack, her favourite brand of moisturiser and some lovely chocolates. Include a gift voucher for a facial or pedicure and make her feel pampered and special.

Heat pack

There’s no denying pregnancy brings with it many types of aches, pains and muscle spasms as the body changes in order to grow another human being! One of the best ways to ease these aches and pains is to use heat on the area.

Heat therapy increases blood flow which brings oxygen and nutrients to the areas that are sore and painful. It’s a soothing way to ease pain and bring comfort to joints, muscles and ligaments in areas of your partner’s body that need it. 

There are some absolutely beautifully designed and scented heat packs on the market these days. Not only does a heat pack help ease those sore muscles and joints your pregnant partner feels at the end of the day, if it’s gorgeous as well, it will lift her mood thinking about how you care for her wellbeing. 

Gestational Diabetes – Everything You Need To Know

It’s natural to worry if you’re diagnosed with gestational diabetes or told you’re at risk of developing the condition during pregnancy. 

You may feel anxious gestational diabetes will change your birth plans or cause you to need interventions during labour.

Remember, being informed about your pregnancy care and health means you can make the best decisions for you and your baby. 

Most women who develop gestational diabetes will have healthy pregnancies, normal births and beautifully healthy babies. 

Let’s take a dive into the topic of gestational diabetes, what causes it and how it’s treated. 

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a type of diabetes that only occurs during pregnancy. It’s diagnosed when your blood sugar levels are too high, usually between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy.

According to health data from 2017, 1 in 7 or 15% of pregnant women in Australia develop gestational diabetes, and this number is growing each year.

The increase in number is potentially due to more women having babies later, as the incidence of GDM increases as women age. 

What causes gestational diabetes?

During pregnancy, the placenta produces hormones to support your baby’s growth and development. These hormones have an effect on your insulin, which is the hormone that regulates your blood sugar or blood glucose levels. It moves glucose from your blood to your cells to be used for energy. 

In pregnancy, your body becomes slightly insulin resistant, so there’s more glucose in your bloodstream and this is passed onto your baby. But if the resistance to insulin increases, this causes blood glucose levels to become very high, leading to GDM. 

Usually once you’ve given birth, your blood sugar levels will return to normal. However, having gestational diabetes increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future. 

Who is at risk of developing gestational diabetes?

There are some women who are more likely to develop GDM than others. These women have risk factors such as:

  • Had GDM in previous pregnancy
  • Have a family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Mother or sister had GDM
  • Are older, especially over 40 years of age
  • Before pregnancy above healthy weight range
  • Have had elevated blood glucose levels before 
  • First Nations women
  • Women from African, South Asian, Polynesian, Middle Eastern, Melanesian, Chinese, Southeast Asian, Hispanic and South American backgrounds 
  • Have polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Have had a large baby (>4.5kg)
  • Taking certain medications, such as steroids. 

Bear in mind, women with no known risk factors can also develop gestational diabetes.

What are the warning signs of GDM?

It’s actually not very common for gestational diabetes to cause symptoms. Most women who have symptoms find they’re mild, and include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision.

Most often women don’t realise they have GDM until they have routine screening at 24-28 weeks pregnant. 

How do you diagnose gestational diabetes?

It’s recommended all pregnant women are screened for gestational diabetes between 24-28 weeks of pregnancy. 

Screening involves having an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). You need to fast for 8-12 hours (usually overnight) and then have a blood sample collected. After the blood test, you will drink 75mg of sugar and then have your blood sugar levels tested 2 hours later. 

If the blood test shows glucose levels above normal, you’re then diagnosed with gestational diabetes. 

What’s the treatment for gestational diabetes?

The good news is, most women with gestational diabetes can have a healthy pregnancy, normal birth and a healthy baby. Much of this will depend on two things:

  • How you manage your gestational diabetes
  • Your care provider’s attitude and support.

Nutrition is so important during pregnancy, but a diagnosis of GDM can mean extra focus on the quality of food you’re eating.

It’s recommended you include plenty of nutrient dense vegetables, high quality protein, healthy fats, legumes and pulses, and wholegrain carbohydrates.

Strive to include a variety of foods and stay away from foods high in sugar and highly processed. They provide little in terms of nutrients and are likely to cause your blood sugar levels to spike. 

Exercise not only helps to keep blood glucose levels stable, there are other benefits too! Did you know pregnant women who exercise are likely to have shorter labours and easier births? Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity most days, which can be as simple as a brisk walk or swimming laps. 

Managing gestational diabetes means having the support of those around you – family, friends and your healthcare providers.

It’s not uncommon for women to be told they will need interventions due to having gestational diabetes when it comes time to give birth. Having a supportive care provider who works with you to achieve a normal and positive birth experience is important.

It also means being informed about the best options for you, when you get close to full term.

Some women are fortunate and can manage their GDM with lifestyle changes alone. Others will need to take medication.

Metformin is a medication that helps your body to respond better to insulin, as well as keeping your weight and blood pressure down. There are some side effects, which include an upset stomach and diarrhea. 

Insulin may be needed, which is given via injection, if Metformin isn’t working or can’t be taken. Your healthcare team will show you how to use the insulin injections, where to store them and so on.

What happens if GDM is untreated?

If GDM isn’t managed, it can lead to high blood sugar levels that cause problems for you and your baby. 

Gestational diabetes can cause you to:

  • Develop high blood pressure and preeclampsia
  • Have interventions such as a c-section
  • Develop diabetes in the future. 

Gestational diabetes increases the risk your baby will:

  • Grow larger than usual due to the increased blood glucose. The main concern is the baby will be too big and need interventions to be born, such as c-section
  • Be born prematurely, either unplanned or due to induction 
  • Have breathing problems at birth and need special care
  • Have low blood sugars which can cause seizures. This needs monitoring, early feeding and sometimes IV fluids
  • Be stillborn (very rare)
  • Develop obesity/type 2 diabetes later in life. 

What should I avoid eating with gestational diabetes?

As we mentioned earlier, the best diet you can have while pregnant is one that takes in as much variety of nutrient dense foods as possible. There’s no need to remove any food group, but there’s certainly a case for watching how much you eat of certain foods, such as simple carbohydrates. 

Simple carbs are the type which cause your blood sugar to rise quickly after eating. The best way to avoid this is to swap them out with more complex carbohydrates, such as wholefood grain options, more vegetables and lean protein.

Definitely assess the amount of sugar you’re eating, and limit sugary foods like sweets, chocolate and biscuits. If you’re craving sugar, opt for healthier options like berries with yoghurt or chia pudding. Try to include protein with your meals and snacks to encourage blood glucose levels to stay stable. 

Can drinking water help gestational diabetes?

It’s important to think about what you’re drinking, not just your food intake.

Sugary drinks or beverages like chai lattes are likely to drive your blood glucose levels up so try to avoid them. Even fruit juices and smoothies can be high in sugar so keep that in mind as well. A smoothie made at home with almond milk, berries and yoghurt with a dash of cacao is a much better option. 

But the main fluid you should be drinking is water. Water has no calories or carbohydrates so it’s perfect as it won’t raise blood glucose levels. 

Can you get rid of GDM while pregnant?

Many women want to know if they can prevent or reverse gestational diabetes, especially if they’re concerned having the condition will impact their birth choices. 

Nearly 50 years ago a study looked at the effects of vitamin B6 on gestational diabetes. The study size was small but the results indicated a deficiency of B6 was linked to gestational diabetes. Further research has been conducted since then which suggests there is definitely a link between vitamin B6 and gestational diabetes. 

Ensuring your diet has plenty of vitamin B6 when pregnant is important for your developing baby too. It’s vital for their brain and nervous system development, and helps their body to metabolize carbohydrates and protein. Fish, lean meat, and nuts are excellent sources of vitamin B6, as well as chickpeas. 

If you’re worried about your nutritional profile, ask your healthcare provider to organise blood tests. Supplements are useful only if you are deficient in nutrients.

Does gestational diabetes go away after birth?

Normally, GDM disappears after you give birth. It’s usual for your doctor or midwife to test your glucose levels 6-12 weeks and it’s recommended to have testing every year for type 2 diabetes if you’re planning another baby. 

Breastfeeding after birth is especially beneficial for mothers who had gestational diabetes as it helps to regulate both your weight and your baby’s. 

To reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes after GDM, it’s important to maintain a healthy weight range, eat a wonderfully nutritious diet and be physically active whenever possible. 

If you need support for the prevention or management of gestational diabetes, you may like to see Nurtured Birth’s naturopath who can work with you to create a holistic pregnancy care plan.

Please contact us for more information or to book an appointment. 

Human Rights In Childbirth – What You Need To Know

Having a baby is one of the most amazing and exciting times for a woman and her family. There is so much to look forward to, and surprisingly a lot of planning! 

With the vast majority of women giving birth in hospitals in Australia, it’s easy to believe there’ll be no issues with how your pregnancy and birth will go. 

And for many women, they have a positive and successful birth experience and never question why.

There is a framework of laws that protects the human rights of women in childbirth, which works to reduce abuse, disrespect and unsafe practices in maternity care. 

Based on these laws, all women are entitled to access safe and quality care which recognises their right to make decisions without fear of being discriminated against or disadvantaged in any way. 

While this might not seem like something that you need to worry about, it’s important to have an awareness and knowledge about human rights in childbirth. That way, you can recognise if you’re not being centred in your care and know how to deal with it. 

What are human rights?

The term human rights has evolved out of the idea every person in the world has the same basic rights, which are based on values such as dignity, respect and independence. 

We tend to think of human rights being about such situations as slavery or lack of access to basic health care. But they also apply to specific experiences, such as pregnancy and maternity care. 

Human Rights In Childbirth, a leading charity organisation focused on protecting women’s human rights in maternity care, says there are four main areas of basic human rights:

  • Life
  • Health
  • Privacy 
  • Equality.

The World Health Organization says international human rights frameworks are important to ensuring health systems provide respectful and quality maternity care. 

What are my rights when I am pregnant and giving birth?

There are human rights laws which give all women the right to receive safe, quality maternity care and to make your own choices about the care or treatment you are offered. 

These laws also mean maternity healthcare professionals and hospitals must treat you with respect and dignity at all times, including your autonomy to make decisions about yourself. 

Where do our human rights come from?

The idea that humans have basic rights probably steam from way back in 1215 in Britain  with the Magna Carta Libertatum or the Great Charter of Freedoms. From that time, a number of laws were developed that developed further the idea that all humans deserved the same rights and freedoms. 

The Second World War and the atrocities that happened as a result increased the pressure to make the protection of human rights a priority for all countries around the world.

In 1945, the United Nations was formed and 50 Member States worked to contribute to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948. 

Australian rights are decided based on international law, laws made by our courts, and laws enacted by our parliament. In 2008 The Australian Charter Of Healthcare Rights was adopted by federal and state health ministers. It was developed by the Healthcare Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare, in consultation with the Australian government, health sector and health consumer groups. 

The Australian Charter Of Healthcare Rights outlines the rights of patients, consumers and anyone using the Australian healthcare system. These rights ensure the safest and highest quality healthcare is provided to all people. 

How do human rights apply to maternity care?

Human rights laws extend to how women can expect to be treated during pregnancy and birth. 

The four key areas of human rights mean women should be respected to choose the care and treatment they wish for. 

Care providers must provide maternity care that respects human rights, particularly with regards to informed consent and the right to autonomy. 

What rights do I have in maternity care?

When you’re first pregnant, it’s difficult to know what the ‘right’ thing is to do. Often we look for guidance from others, whether that’s to do with which care provider and birth place to choose, and information about pregnancy and birth. 

Almost all women in Australia go through the public or private hospital system to give birth. In this setting, it can be really easy to defer to the authority of healthcare professionals. 

While care providers all have the same end goal in mind, which is the safe birth of your baby and you being safe too, it’s important to know you have autonomy over decisions about this process. 

Human rights in childbirth include:

  • Privacy and confidentiality
  • Information and the right to give informed consent or refusal of consent
  • Respect for their choices and preferences 
  • To be treated with dignity and respect
  • Access care that is free from discrimination based on race, sex or religion
  • Autonomy and the right to self determination without coercion
  • Be free of harm and poor treatment
  • Access to the highest level of care.

Your rights in maternity care should centre around you as the key decision maker in all aspects of pregnancy and birth care. This is what is known as informed consent. 

Informed consent is the process by which your healthcare provider (doctor or midwife) is legally obliged to tell you the risks/benefits of treatments or procedures they’re recommending.

You have the right to be informed of the risks and benefits of any treatments or procedures so you can decide if you consent to them.

This means your care provider should:

  • Offer a description/diagnosis of the situation
  • Discuss the treatment or procedure
  • Go through the risks and benefits of these actions
  • Offer alternatives available (with risks/benefits)
  • The risks and benefits of refusing treatment. 

If your care provider doesn’t cover these points with you and goes ahead with a procedure without your consent, or demands you agree to one without full information, then it’s not informed consent. 

If you’re refused treatment that you ask for, such as pain relief, to prevent suffering, this would be considered inhumane or degrading treatment and not respecting your human rights. 

You have the right to refuse medical treatment if you believe it’s not right for you.

Do human rights protect an unborn child?

In Australia, an unborn baby doesn’t have separate rights to their mother. As such, until birth the mother is free to make choices about her care that affect her baby. She can’t be forced to accept treatment even if it’s said to be in the best interest of her baby.

This may be something as simple as your doctor wanting to induce labour at 41 weeks before the small risk of stillbirth increases. 

After having all the risks and benefits of both the induction procedure and the risk of stillbirth discussed, you may choose to refuse the induction. This is your right. 

If your care provider believes you or your baby is at significant risk of harm or death and you refuse treatment, they may ask a court of law to force treatment.

Are there any circumstances in which treatment can be given without consent?

It’s very rare that you will not be able to give consent to treatment during your pregnancy and birth.

The only time your care provider may treat you without consent is if you’re unable to make a decision in an emergency and you can’t make your wishes known. This may be if you’re losing consciousness due to severe blood loss and your doctor needs to provide urgent life saving treatment. 

Being informed about pregnancy and birth helps you to prepare for the unexpected and have your preferences already known to your care providers.

Building a relationship with them during your pregnancy creates a mutual understanding of how you envisage your birth and your expectations should things change. It’s important you choose the right maternity care provider for you for this reason. 

What can I do if my rights have not been respected?

It can feel really challenging when you realise you’re unhappy with how you’ve been treated, especially at such a vulnerable time as when pregnant or giving birth. 

You may want to talk to a trusted friend, family member or even another healthcare professional, such as a midwife or doctor. You can also speak to a birth doula to debrief your experience and help you understand what has happened.

This can help you to have clarity about the situation and work through the best process for you to move forwards. 

If your human rights in childbirth haven’t been respected, you can make a complaint against either the person or service such as a hospital. 

The first step is usually to approach the healthcare provider or service directly. You can either speak to them in person, with an advocate present, or make a complaint in writing. Write down what happened, who was involved and the solution you are hoping for. It’s important to ask for a written response and the healthcare provider or service should acknowledge they’ve received your complaint. 

If you’re unhappy with their response, or you’re not comfortable with this approach, you can take your complain to either the following organisations:

They will work with you to deal with your complaint and work out a resolution you’re satisfied with. If you don’t want to make a formal complaint, you can call AHPRA on 1300 582 113 and discuss what options might are available to resolve your concerns.

Nurtured Birth offers workshops and services to support you choosing a maternity care provider, becoming birth informed, or even be there for you on the day. Please get in touch with us to find out more.

Postnatal Depression – What Every New Mama Should Know

The transition to motherhood is exciting but also very challenging, and it can be even harder if you’re dealing with postnatal depression as well.

Postnatal depression, also called postpartum depression, affects almost 15% of women after giving birth.

It occurs in first time mothers as well women who have given birth before.

In this blog, we take a look into what postnatal depression is, the signs to look for and the ways it can be treated.

What is postnatal depression?

Most new mothers expect to experience the baby blues in the first week or so after giving birth. Up to 80% of new mums feel sad, tired or emotional for a few days in those first weeks.

Dealing with sleep deprivation, getting breastfeeding going, and all the hormone shifts that are happening contribute to these wobbly baby blues moments.

It’s absolutely normal and will usually pass in a few weeks.

While the symptoms are very similar, postnatal depression is different from the baby blues in that it’s a lot more intense and lasts far longer. Postnatal depression causes severe mood swings, a sense of hopelessness and even thoughts of self harm.

The intensity of these feelings can make it very hard for you to care for yourself, let alone your baby.

What causes postnatal depression?

We don’t know what causes postnatal depression in women but it’s thought there are both physical and emotional triggers.

After birth, your body experiences a dramatic hormonal drop, such as progesterone, estrogen and thyroid hormones. Lack of sleep and poor nutrition can also contribute to physically triggers that lead to postnatal depression.

Becoming a mother is a huge emotional change in itself! Challenges with breastfeeding, feeling isolated, being overwhelmed for the responsibility for this tiny human. These contribute to feeling incapable of coping with even small setbacks.

It’s not unusual for new mothers to feel anxious and worried they can’t take care of their newborn, or to struggle with their identity in the first weeks and months after birth. There is also a lot of external pressure on new mums to bounce back after birth and this definitely doesn’t help.

Research from around the world has found women with the following risk factors increase the chances they’ll experience PND:

  • A personal or family history of either depression or anxiety

  • A traumatic birth experience, such as an unexpected c-section, premature birth, prolonged labour, lack of support during labour

  • Having relationship problems, either with your partner or extended family

  • Domestic and family violence, including physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse

  • Past history of any type of abuse

  • Stressful life events such as divorce, death of loved ones, moving house, job loss

  • Complications during pregnancy, such as severe morning sickness, concerns about baby’s development

  • Previous fertility issues or pregnancy loss or stillbirth

  • Social isolation, not having family or friends available for support

  • Financial difficulties.

When do you get PND?

Usually a new mum will experience signs of postnatal depression within the first three months after giving birth. Some will develop PND earlier and others can later, up to 12 months after giving birth.

If you have any of the symptoms outlined below that last for longer than 2 weeks, please see your trusted healthcare professional.

What are the signs of PND?

The baby blues tend to arrive a few days after you give birth and often are described as having wobbly emotions, going from sad and irritated to being overwhelmed and unfocused all in the space of an hour.

It’s normal to have these mood swings as your body adjusts to hormonal changes. It’s also normal to not have the baby blues!

But if your symptoms are intense, last longer and start to interfere with your daily life and ability to care for your baby, then you could have developed postnatal depression.

Symptoms include:

  • Low or depressed mood

  • Severe mood swings, irritability and anger

  • Excessive crying or sadness

  • Withdrawing from family and friends

  • A loss of appetite or eating more than usual

  • Sleeping too much or not enough

  • Difficulty bonding with your baby (feeling you can’t take care of them, they should be with another carer)

  • Overwhelming fatigue

  • No interest in any of the activities you previously enjoyed

  • Feeling worthless, guilty or ashamed

  • Panic attacks or severe anxiety

  • Brain fog, unable to concentrate or make decisions

  • Restlessness

  • Feeling afraid to go out or be alone

  • Not caring for yourself

  • Thinking of harming yourself or your baby

  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

Untreated postnatal depression can continue to get worse over time. So it’s very important you seek support and help as soon as possible.

How do you treat PND?

Seeking support as soon as possible is the first and vital step to treating postnatal depression. Often new mums feel embarrassed or ashamed because they’re afraid of being judged for not coping.

Postnatal depression has nothing to do with how you are coping with new motherhood.

It’s a mental health condition which you have no control over. There are many people you can ask for help if you suspect you have postnatal depression. These include:

Recognising postnatal depression is your lived reality is the first step towards treating it. Your doctor will work with you to come up with a treatment plan specific to your situation, age, as well as how severe your depression is.

Some treatment options include:

  • Psychological therapy, involving therapies to help you manage feelings of depression and coping strategies

  • Antidepressant medication, safe to use while breastfeeding, and can help in combination with other strategies

  • Hospital admission, if thoughts of self harm, suicide or harming your baby occur. Seek immediate help at your nearest emergency hospital department if you feel this way.

Natural remedies for PND

Treating postnatal depression holistically is an option many women prefer, as it can enhance the effects of all treatment options, rather than relying on just one.

Don’t underestimate the benefits of exercise as a mood enhancer. Regular exercise increases endorphins – feel good hormones that lift your mood and energy levels. It can also help you to sleep better at night.

Yoga is also an amazing way to cherish your mind and body, allowing space to centre yourself, to manage any stresses and anxieties.

Nutrition is incredibly important in the postnatal period as your body recovers from the workload of growing your baby and giving birth. But it can feel like a big ask to prepare fresh food every day, and much easier to opt for quick, packaged snacks or meals.

Try planning ahead and having healthy snacks prepped, such as fresh vegetables cut up, dips or nut butters, fruit and yoghurts. Your partner can take on meal preparation or check out meal delivery services to take the pain out of trying to decide what to have for dinner.

The days can really start to drag when you’re home alone all the time with a new baby. Stay connected to family and friends or find a community you can be a part of. Having others to lean on when things are hard is vitally important and we know social isolation increases the challenges of motherhood. Having others to talk to can really make a big difference in how you cope with PND.

You can meet up in person or find a suitable mothers group online. Nurtured Birth offers online mothers’ group sessions to support and nurture new mamas. Be sure to read 5 Reasons To Join A Mums & Bubs Group too.

Self care is a much used phrase these days and often the burden of creating that time is placed on mothers, who sacrifice their own emotional wellbeing in favour of family.

But looking after yourself is an important tool in treating postnatal depression. It doesn’t have to be a day spa (although go for it if you can!). You can choose to leave the baby with a trusted person for an hour or so and go for a walk or coffee catch-up with a friend, or even a weekly massage appointment. However you choose to focus just on you, make sure you do!

Practical support with household chores or taking care of the baby is another option that gives you space and time to recharge and rest. It’s hard to relax when the baby is sleeping and you often spend that time feeling guilty about all the things you ‘should’ be doing instead.

Organise to have some help with those chores so you can rest when you need to. If you have trusted family or friends to help, reach out – or look into hiring a postnatal doula to help for a while.

Postnatal depression is treatable and most women who seek support will see their symptoms improve within six months. Treatment benefits you, your baby and your family.

Nurtured Birth offers a range of services that can support you and your family through postnatal depression. Please contact us for more information.