by Dr. Andrea Clarke ND
Postpartum depression (PPD) is a diagnosable mood disorder occurring in 1 in 5 women after the birth of their baby. The signs and symptoms can vary depending on the woman and depending on the severity, but is generally diagnosed by an Edinburgh questionnaire when women “aren't feeling themselves” for over 2 weeks.
Women particularly at risk are those with a history of depression or anxiety, if they have had PPD before or if they have perceived lack of support, have recently moved, or changed jobs or a change in relationships with their partner, family or friends. In other words, having a big life shift, at the same time as you are transitioning to motherhood puts you at increased risk of postpartum depression or anxiety.
There are many possible imbalances that can lead to postpartum depression, I am sure you have heard of the most commonly diagnosed reason, which is a change in brain chemicals, usually with serotonin, dopamine or norepinephrine; and treated with antidepressants. However there are a multitude of reasons that postpartum depression occurs, which have vary different treatment plans than taking anti-depressants. Other causal factors include:
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Hormonal shifts
- Lack of sleep
Depending on the cause...your treatment plan will vary, adding in hormonal balancing herbs, or high dose vitamins, natural anti-inflammatories, natural brain chemical support and acupuncture.
Of course choosing the treatment that is right for you and your breastfeeding relationship is of upmost importance. Many moms suffer with the symptoms of PPD because they feel there are no safe options while breastfeeding. And that is simply NOT true. Please reach out for help, we would love to help your transition to motherhood be as joyful as possible.