The fatigue of new parents
Is it normal that I'm so tired?
When I went to university I used to sleep many nights, but I didn't know what it meant to be really tired until my daughter was born. The little girl slept only an hour or two straight.
My husband helped me, but at first I was the only one who could breastfeed her.
Even after starting to sleep for a longer number of hours, my tiredness seemed to get worse.
One day, I tried to start the car with my dog's leash instead of the key. "Is it normal to be so tired?" I was wondering. I couldn't find a clear answer. None of the baby sleep books I had read mentioned this enormous exhaustion on the part of the parents.
Read also: Babies and rest: 8 things to know about the importance of sleep for your children
Fatigue can indicate health problems
A sign not to be underestimated
Fatigue is a common side effect of new parents, especially during the baby's first year of life, when both mothers and fathers experience "chopped" sleep. But it can also be a sign of serious health problems such as postpartum depression, sleep disturbances, anemia and thyroid dysfunction.
Then, how to know if fatigue goes beyond what is normal for a new parent? To answer that question, here's what female health experts and sleep researchers are saying.
When you need to worry
It is normal for parents to feel exhausted after the baby arrives
Newborns do not have their own sleep patterns. They wake up often and some may even sleep more during the day than at night. But after the first few weeks, if you feel you are running low, that could be a symptom of a pretty serious health problem.
Here are some signs that you should see a doctor:
- You snore in your sleep. This could be a symptom of sleep apnea, a respiratory disorder that causes frequent nocturnal awakenings, says Dr. Montgomery-Downs. Some studies suggest that pregnancy can increase a woman's risk of developing sleep apnea and that the problem may persist even after the baby is born.
- Occur frequent limb movements that interrupt sleep.
- You have persistent problems falling asleep or to go back to sleep after the baby wakes up.
- You felt quickly or anxious. You are having trouble taking care of yourself. You have lost the urge to do things you once enjoyed. These can all be signs of postpartum depression.
- You fall asleep at inappropriate times, for example while holding the baby in your arms.
- Your reaction time is reduced. You drop objects or you can no longer drive carefully.
All parents should feel free to seek medical attention, as Dr. Montgomery-Downs states: "These are not symptoms you can live with".
Source: Parenting NYTimes
- Un fragmented sleep it can leave you more tired than lack of sleep. You should sleep continuously for at least four hours.
- Fatigue and tiredness They are not the same thing. You can relieve the former by sleeping more, but fatigue doesn't always resolve with extra rest.
- If you have trouble falling asleep, be sure to avoid caffeine and alcohol, especially at the end of the day.
- L'insomnia it can be both a trigger and a symptom of postpartum depression.
- Parents should seek medical attention if they have long-lasting fatigue problems or think they have a sleep disorder or suffer from postpartum depression.
Read also: 8 tips to combat fatigue if your baby is not sleeping
- first year