- Self-care strategies, such as exercise or sleep hygiene, should be encouraged to all persons at risk for or experiencing perinatal depressive symptoms.
- They can be self-administered in the home and used in privacy and may be perceived of as safe, with few or no potential adverse effects or risks.
- Exercise—such as walking, aerobic, aqua-based, and instructor-led or home-based programs—are effective in targeting perinatal depression.
- Unless medically contraindicated, persons who engage in regular physical activity have been found to have benefits in mood and an increase in social support, coping, and improved functioning.
- Educate persons who are at risk for or who are developing perinatal depression to implement the following sleep hygiene measures daily:
- avoid alcohol or caffeine;
- engage in some physical activity in late afternoon or early evening;
- wind down before sleep;
- awaken at approximately the same time each morning to establish a daily routine (when possible);
- get up and move to another room until feeling sleepy if not asleep within 15 minutes;
- have a light snack or warm milk before going to sleep;
- encourage short naps during the day to cope with disrupted sleep at night;
- access family support or a postpartum doula to allow for times with uninterrupted sleep (if possible); and
- practice stress reduction and relaxation exercises (e.g., deep breathing, imagery, or progressive muscle relaxation).
Women and Children
Assessment and Interventions Perinatal Depression
Point of Care Resources