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Planning future pregnancies

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After having had PND, anxiety or another mental health illness during or after pregnancy, it can be frightening to consider having another baby.

Some couples choose not to have another baby

Remember, a lot can be done to reduce the risk of getting unwell again.

Even with the best plans and support, another episode can occur.

In this event you will have a better understanding of what is happening, hopefully get help earlier, and find that you cope better.

Strategies to reduce risk

  • Involve others in your plans.
  • Think of ways to maximise your chances of having unbroken sleep as often as possible, e.g. express breast milk so that someone else can do a night feed; have turns for ‘night duty’; have a friend stay over occasionally to help at night.
  • Reduce stress wherever possible – do not renovate, don’t feel embarrassed about asking for help – in fact prearrange it if you can. If people ask what they can do to help, be ready to tell them e.g., cook a meal, or clean the bathroom or “vacuuming the house would be a big help”.
  • Share the responsibility of the new baby. If you have a partner - remember it is their responsibility as well – sure they may work hard all day but so do you. They may not do things the way you want them done but they have to learn their own way.
  • Take medication before you get unwell, or when the first signs/symptoms develop –don’t wait until you are really sick.
  • Watch for early warning signs; educate yourself and others to recognise these.
  • Recognise your stresses and learn to avoid them.
  • Develop a plan of positive things for yourself e.g. having coffee with a friend, getting your husband to look after the baby while you have a long soak in the bath every night - have time at home alone to do whatever you like - no, not the washing - while someone takes baby out for awhile.

Erin's Story:

"My ideas and thoughts on what helped me, the second time around, after having had PND with my first babyThe birth was definitely easier and I knew what to expect. I feel calmer and more confident.

I have made different choices this time that work for me and my family. Breastfeeding and a top up with formula at night is working for us. I know that my baby has had enough milk and she is sleeping well with me only getting up once per night.

Whenever possible, I sleep during the afternoon because when I am exhausted things are so much more difficult, and I do not cope when I am tired. I am honest with people and limit visitors. I do not expect perfection in the house now and have learned to live with a bit more of a mess.

Communication with my husband is much better, and we now work as a team to do what needs doing. Teamwork is essential with two children. I deal with problems as they arise, rather than letting things pile up then crumble around me with me and not able to cope.”

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