Have you had a baby in the last year? Do you often feel overwhelmed, irritable, or down?
In light of mental health week, I would like to bring awareness to the mental-emotional
struggles many new mothers face.
Post-partum blues and post-partum depression can have a serious impact on the health of
mom and baby. It can interfere with mother-child bonding and can leave mom feeling
confused, guilty, and even ashamed. I am here to let you know that you are not alone and
there are many ways we can help!
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN POST-PARTUM BLUES AND
POST-PARTUM BLUES affects 80% of women and usually happens 3-4 days after giving
birth. It is caused by the sudden drop in progesterone and estrogen levels, leading to mood
fluctuations, tearfulness, anxiety, fatigue, and poor memory. The post-partum blues
generally resolve within 10-14 days of delivery once hormones stabilize.
POST-PARTUM DEPRESSION on the other hand, affects 10-15% of women and occurs
anywhere from 3 weeks to 12 months after birth. It shares many of the same symptoms of
depression, including low mood, little enjoyment in previously enjoyed activities, changes in
sleep or appetite, fatigue, low libido, irritability, hopelessness, and even suicidality. Some
mothers may distance themselves from the baby, while others become overly concerned
and anxious about the baby. Regardless of how post-partum depression presents, it is
important to seek help!
COMMON RISK FACTORS:
Difficulty breastfeeding – while breastfeeding significantly decreases the risk of
developing post-partum depression, breastfeeding challenges increase it. If
breastfeeding isn’t going as smoothly as you’d imagined, a lactation consult can
help with advice on baby-positioning and tips to increase success!
Emergency delivery – because of the urgency of this scenario, mothers (and
fathers) often feel a loss of control and are overwhelmed. They are unable to
mentally prepare for the delivery and what would otherwise be a very joyful
moment becomes one of the scariest! Counselling around birth trauma is
important so that parents can understand and accept what happened. This is
especially important if the couple plans on having more children.
History of depression – if a woman has a history of depression, it is important
to implement tools for prevention. See below for tips on how to do this.
History of childhood abuse – counselling may be an important part of healing if
there is a history of abuse, as raising a child can often trigger memories from the
Stress – while not entirely avoidable, marital, financial, or other life stressors can
increase the risk of post-partum depression. Support and stress-management
are crucial for improving your overall sense of wellbeing.
HOW NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE CAN HELP:
Decreases isolation – talking about your concerns and truly being heard
Promotes a healthy lifestyle – to improve nutrition, sleep, and mental-emotional
Stress support – there are many nutrients and herbs that help the body to better
cope with physical and mental stress
Acupuncture – this helps address the underlying cause to improve hormone
balance, promote relaxation, while addressing secondary concerns you may
Individualized care – depression is just a label; we address the whole person
Safety with supplements – there are several herbs and supplements that are
not safe during pregnancy and/or breastfeeding. It is important to have guidance
through this process!
WHEN TO SEEK HELP – while post-partum depression cannot be diagnosed until at least
2-3 weeks after delivery, always seek medical attention if you suspect something is wrong.
Being proactive and implementing a wellness strategy are key in preventing and treating
post-partum mental health!
Parent Talk Line – speak to a public health nurse in Niagara
905-688-8248 or 1-888-505-6074 ext. 7555 – Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30
Get back to feeling yourself so that you can truly be there for your family and new
baby! Taking care of yourself is the first step in getting well.
For healthcare that is specific to your needs, come see us at Health Over All!