Of the most joyful events of your life can easily turn into a nightmare. Postpartum depression is real, and it affects 1 in 7 women.
Postpartum depression can cause mothers to feel sad, overwhelmed and inadequate to the point of wanting to harm themselves or even their baby. It’s a problem for many women, but the good news is there are ways to naturally prevent and treat it.
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Medication vs. Natural Remedies
The concern many women face is taking medication following the delivery of their baby when they are breastfeeding. Since what the mother consumes can enter her breastmilk, many women forgo anti-depressants. This can lead to much more devastating consequences when postpartum depression gets out of control.
As an alternative, many women have been turning to natural remedies such as placenta encapsulation, omega-3 supplements, Sam E, bright light therapy and acupuncture.
Placenta encapsulation is the process of manufacturing a pill with pieces of your placenta inside of it. Since the placenta delivers all of the nutrients to the growing fetus, it is full of them even after delivery. There’s also estrogen in the placenta, which the body lacks after having a baby. These low levels of estrogen can play a role in depression, which is why getting it from the placenta may be helpful.
To make the placenta ready for encapsulation, it must be dehydrated, steamed and then ground. The grounds are what go inside of the pills.
Besides providing them with nutrients and hormone replacement after birth, some women report it increases milk supply. Since many new mothers feel inadequate when they cannot produce enough milk for their baby, this boost can also help women avoid feeling depressed.
Omega-3s are fatty acids found in fish. They can help boost women’s moods after having a baby. Hormones and the life transitions that come along with having a new baby can alter moods. To keep them more stable, women sometimes take omega-3 supplements or increase their intake of fish.
Sam-E is a natural molecule found in neurotransmitters. Studies have found this supplement may be able to decrease the risk of postpartum depression. The good news is that there are no reports of side effects in breastfed babies.
Folic acid, or vitamin B6, is something most women take during pregnancy, and they should continue the supplement after delivery. It’s been known to help with depression because a deficiency in it often leads women to have low energy, which can make caring for an infant difficult.
Bright Light Therapy
Bright light therapy has been used for quite some time to help people with seasonal depression. In a postpartum study, the therapy was shown to help with depression as well. This therapy involves sitting under a 10,000 lux light source from 30 to 60 minutes each day.
Acupuncture may also be a consideration. While there still needs to be more research on using it for postpartum depression, it may have some benefits since it has been shown to help women who suffer from depression during pregnancy.
Besides one of the above natural remedies, remember to eat healthy foods during this important time in your life and the babies. Something as simple as adding prebiotics to your diet could make the necessary changes to keep postpartum depression at bay. Just speak to your doctor before you start to make sure these methods are safe for you and your baby.
Ali Lawrence is a tea-sipping writer who focuses on healthy and sustainable living via her family blog Homey Improvements. She was born and raised in Alaska and dabbles in PR, Pilates, and is a princess for hire for kid’s parties. Find her on Twitter @DIYfolks.