Three months after the birth of her second child, Chrissy Teigen is feeling great, and if she starts feeling symptoms of postpartum depression, she knows what do.
“That’s what I’m still wondering now, honestly,” Teigen told Yahoo Lifestyle when asked if she’s experiencing postpartum depression, like she did with her first child, Luna. “I’m three months out with Miles. And when I hit that point with Luna, it was at this time. Around three months.” So far, so good, though.
The 32-year-old model and author has been open about her experience with PPD, and continues to speak candidly about her experience. “I think what people don’t know is that sometimes it takes time to kick in,” she said before she was interrupted by her daughter waking up from a nap. “You just don’t know what’s gonna happen,” she continued, after Luna’s surprise cameo.
Teigen might not be a doctor, but she’s right. While PPD “commonly begins between a week and a month after delivery,” according to the National Institute of Mental Health, the condition, which occurs in almost 15 percent of births, can begin shortly before or any time after childbirth. For Teigen, that was three months. “The majority of women enter the eye of the postpartum hormonal storm during the first couple weeks after delivery,” Sherry A. Ross, MD (known as “Dr. Sherry”) women’s health expert and author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women’s Intimate Health. Period., tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “There are some women who experience PPD weeks and months later, depending on how well you are handling motherhood and how well you and your baby bond,” she explained.
“The ‘fourth trimester,’ also known as the postpartum period, can be overwhelming physically and emotionally,” Dr. Sherry said. “Usually two to three days after delivery, new moms may begin to feel depressed, anxious, upset and frustrated. The baby blues get better within days or one to two weeks after delivery, whereas postpartum depression starts to ramp up around this time,” she explained. “Typically PPD begins around one to two weeks after delivery and continues for months thereafter.”
In a 2017 essay for Glamour, Teigen shared that she was feeling symptomatic for “much” of Luna’s first year, and she’s not alone. “Symptoms associated with this incapacitating depression can continue for a year or more after having a baby, depending on how well you take control of this scary disease,” said Dr. Sherry. “Women at risk can actually start to feel more depressed and anxious a couple weeks before delivery in fear and anticipation of what’s to come,” she said.
“I do know that I feel better right now,” Teigen, who is promoting a partnership with Pampers, told Yahoo Lifestyle. “I don’t know what next week is gonna be like. You take it day by day. I feel like at least now if it does happen, I’ll know it upon the first time I feel it. Rather than wondering for so long why I was feeling like that,” which is what happened to her the first time around.
In fact, Teigen planned her family’s trip to Bali to prevent PPD. “That whole experience was like, is it gonna happen again?” she said. “I used Bali after I found out I had postpartum depression with Luna, to go somewhere and clear my head and try to get well,” she explained of her first family vacation to Indonesia. “And this trip, we planned it just thinking that maybe it might happen, so let’s go and let’s see, and not wait until I feel low or down. Let’s get there first and see if it will help. Because at this point you have to try anything to feel better.” So, did it work? Well, her goofy and lighthearted Instagram posts don’t lie. “I feel great this year, we went. We had such a good experience, we had so much fun.”
But a lavish trip to Bali isn’t the only way to prevent PPD. “Practicing relaxation techniques such as mindfulness are beneficial mentally and physically,” Dr. Sherry said. “The more you practice mindfulness meditation, the better control you have using it when it is needed the most.” It seems like Teigen got that memo; just look at the sweet and serene post of her with Miles in a sling and the caption, “just being my sweet, peaceful self.”
“Yoga, acupuncture and massage are other safe additions to your treatment plan for preventing PPD,” said Dr. Sherry. “Seeing a therapist throughout the pregnancy is the first step in taking control of your emotions,” she also advised. “It’s important to establish a support team who will help you be successful in avoiding the dark days associated with depression. The team should include your partner, therapist and health care provider.”
Teigen knows that a good support system is also key to beating PPD. “I’m so ready for it. I have the perfect people around me for it. That’s why I stand for a real core group of people around me,” she said in February.
Women who’ve experienced PPD may want to recruit their best friend, sister or mother to help them navigate this emotionally terrifying time. And don’t forget to utilize the team you’ve built. “Women suffering from this type of depression need to acknowledge and be communicative of how they are feeling and use their support team regularly,” said Dr. Sherry.
Exercise is also a method of prevention. “Exercise may be the safest ‘antidepressant’ for women suffering with or at risk for PPD,” Dr. Sherry said. “Regular exercise can improve mental health, relieve stress, improve depression and anxiety, and help you sleep better.” She said 30 minutes a day of simply walking may provide enough “feel good” hormones to make it easier to get up in the morning.
There are also clinical preparations one can take. “The good news is obstetricians and other health care providers are now doing a better job at screening women who are high risk for depression before, during and after pregnancy, which helps prevent PPD,” Dr. Sherry assured. Teigen turned to antidepressants once she realized she was suffering from PPD, but Dr. Sherry pointed out starting them earlier is an option. “Antidepressants may need to be started at 36 weeks of pregnancy in order to get adequate blood levels in a women’s system to ward off uncontrollable emotions once the baby is born.”
Teigen is known for solving a lot of her problems on social media — like when she runs out of bananas — and she believes it could be of help in this scenario too. “I think that whole postpartum story is what kind of inspired Pure Goals,” she said of the new Pampers initiative. “We are encouraging people to use that hashtag, whether their story is sobbing through their day or kissing their kids goodbye on their first day of school or those tiny, tiny moments when your daughter looks up at you and says, ‘I’m so happy, Mama.’ It’s those little things … the same ones that make me choke up, are the same ones that make other people choke up,” she explained. “So I think it’s really important that people click on this hashtag and see that other parents are going through the same things as them.”
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