7 Things to Do at Home to Keep Postpartum Depression at Bay
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For many women, the experience of pregnancy and giving birth is life-changing and beautiful but it can be stressful and emotionally trying. A new mother can find herself facing unfamiliar changes and challenges with her body and her emotions. Pregnancy and post-pregnancy hormones can wreak havoc on physical and mental well-being, causing mood swings, anxiety, and sometimes depression. Hormonal and emotional fluctuations are natural and a part of early motherhood.
But what if emotions become overwhelming and interfere with motherhood? Postpartum or postnatal depression is a common but potentially severe psychological disorder among women who have recently given birth. It affects roughly 10 to 15%, or 1 in 7, mothers every year.
There has been much curiosity around natural alternatives to prescription medication to treat the symptoms of postnatal depression. The medicinal use of marijuana as a post-partum treatment option has been a source of increasing interest, though using marijuana has its drawbacks. While depression is frequently treated with prescription antidepressants, some women may prefer more natural options over pharmaceutical drugs.
Effects of Postpartum Depression
The symptoms of postpartum depression can range from mild to severe. Women who deal with severe postpartum depression can suffer from various physical side effects:
- physical fatigue or loss of energy
- lack of appetite and weight loss
- overeating and weight gain
- poor sleep or insomnia
- hormonal fluctuations or imbalances
- difficulty breastfeeding
- physical restlessness and agitation
Mental symptoms and warning signs that indicate postpartum depression include:
- severe mood swings
- extreme mental fatigue
- confusion and disorientation
- increased irritability or anger
- frequent and excessive crying episodes
- insomnia or sleeping excessively
- shame and guilt
- anxiety and panic attacks
- suicidal or homicidal thoughts
Postpartum depression symptoms are treatable and can be managed effectively. In extreme cases, it is recommended to consult with an OB-GYN, who can make clinical recommendations about proper treatment for postpartum depression, including therapy and medication.
Here are 7 natural ways of managing milder symptoms and preventing the onset of postpartum depression.
1. Explore the Benefits of Natural Supplements and Herbal Remedies
Studies have found evidence that extra doses of omega-3 fatty acids and riboflavin (vitamin B-12) can positively affect mood and decrease risk of postnatal depression. Herbal teas such as chamomile and lemon balm are known for alleviating stress naturally.
2. Practice Self-Care Regularly
Self-care is always a good thing to incorporate into your daily life, but during and after pregnancy it is more important than ever! Simple self-care routines such as taking long baths, getting a therapeutic massage, or indulging in aromatherapy can make a huge difference in mental health and physical resiliency.
3. Incorporate Healthy Eating Habits
Good nutrition is essential for healthy and happy mothers and their babies. Foods that are high in certain vitamins, minerals, and proteins are especially recommended for nursing mothers. Doing some research to customize a nutritious and palatable diet can increase motivation to eat regularly and maintain healthy eating habits.
4. Exercise for Endorphins and Energy
Light exercise such as yoga is very beneficial for the body and mind. Exercise generates endorphins, the feel-good hormones that elevate mood and decrease anxiety. It’s also excellent for improving sleep quality. Doing yoga with friends or other mothers is a great way to incorporate physical and social activity.
5. Depend on a Support System
Having a good support system that includes trusted family members and close friends is a very important preventative measure to take against postpartum depression or any mental health issues. It’s crucial for young mothers to not feel alone or isolated. Having positive social interactions and emotional support in times of stress can reinforce a sense of well-being and safety.
6. Stay in Communication with an Obstetrician
Communicate regularly and openly with an obstetrician about health concerns or struggles. Asking questions and getting information about the hormonal changes that occur during and after pregnancy can prevent confusion and stress.
7. Enjoy Some Favorite Pastimes
Engage in activities and interests that stimulate the mind and increase happiness. Reading for pleasure, keeping up with a special hobby, playing music, or enjoying leisure time can improve one’s mood significantly.
We Want to Hear From You
Have you experienced post-partum depression? What helped you get through it?