Many first time mothers are very surprised to find how much their lives change after the birth of their new baby. They tend to imagine that their lives will be structured in a peaceful way around the routine of caring for the baby and that every thing will run smoothly and efficiently. However, they soon find once reality kicks in that nothing goes like clockwork once you have a new baby in the house, that nights and days turn upside down and they even discover TV shows in the early hours of the morning. And of course one of the biggest problems for a new mother with this new lifestyle is exhaustion.
Fathers can suffer from exhaustion too! It is said that parents in general miss out on about 10% to 20% of their normal sleeping hours during the first year of their baby's life.
Unfortunately, such fatigue for new mothers can last for months depending on how well your baby sleeps and how good you are at napping when you can. Most new mothers start to feel less exhausted after 2 to 3 months. Although, recent research has found that contrary to popular belief that such post natal exhaustion is in the first 6 weeks after birth, it was actually found that many women were more exhausted at 14 to 19 months post partum than they were at 6 weeks. Could it be that this is linked to those months when your baby first starts to walk and you are having to watch them so carefully and are literally following their every move?
Some of the symptoms of severe exhaustion in new mothers are:
o Inability to concentrate
o Difficulty thinking
o Lack of self-confidence
And these symptoms may well be linked to possible postpartum depression or anemia.
If you were anemic during your pregnancy or you lost a lot of blood at delivery, you may well need to continue taking prenatal vitamins and separate iron supplements. It is best to have a check up with your doctor in these circumstances.
The high prevalence of fatigue among women who have given birth is a concern that should not be taken lightly because sometimes it can be a symptom of larger medical problems such as postpartum thyroiditis (PPT) which is a thyroid dysfunction. Apart from exhaustion, some of the other symptoms for PPT are goiter, dry skin, constipation, weight gain and cold intolerance. And there are certain risk factors in some women for developing PPT such as:
o Goiter and the presence of antithyroid antibodies in the first half of pregnancy.
o A previous history of PPT.
o A family history of thyroid disease
o The presence of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.
If as a new mother, you suspect that you may be experiencing a thyroid dysfunction you should contact your doctor for treatment to improve this condition.