Postpartum Anxiety, Depression, and Trauma
For many women, the weight of pregnancy doesn’t end when they deliver their child. Instead of a feeling of relief after delivery, they may feel sad and disconnected, or experience anxiety and panic attacks. Postpartum depression affects approximately 1 in 8 women, and about 1 in 10 experience postpartum anxiety.
There are many different causes of postpartum disorders and treating the root cause is absolutely necessary for complete healing from this condition. If you have struggled with postpartum anxiety, postpartum depression, trauma, or postpartum psychosis, or if you want to prevent symptoms postpartum, this page is for you! Read the below, and check back often, as we post new information frequently!
There are innumerable integrative treatments for postpartum disorders. Here we will focus on Dr. Cain’s top three favorite solutions. These will work best when used in conjunction with fabulous counseling with a clinician you trust, and optimal medical care from your local physician.
Postpartum disorder risk factors:
- Genetic testing: Genetic test to look for elevated MAO-A.
- Sleeplessness: A history of insomnia or sleeplessness increases your risk of developing postpartum symptoms.
- History of a mood disorder: If you have a history of bipolar disorder or even mood swings, you run an increased risk of developing postpartum depression. It stands to reason then, that by increasing your baseline wellness you are increasing the likelihood of emotional and mental stability postpartum.
- Sense of isolation: Those who feel more isolated, are at a greater risk for postpartum disorders. It’s time to rally your tribe. Family and friends can be a powerful support system. Find local support groups in your area, consider finding a counselor, mentor, or spiritual leader. The more support, the better, as long as it’s the right type of support for you.
- Nutrition deficiencies: Credible research has shown an increased risk of postpartum disorders and nutrient deficiencies. Taking a physician-grade prenatal can be a powerful tool in giving your body the nutrients it needs in preparing for motherhood. Check out our store to purchase our favorite vitamins!
- History of trauma: Just like we wash our dishes before eating a meal on them, having a clean healthy slate before parenthood can make a profound difference in your experience of pregnancy, delivery, and parenthood. The most powerful treatment for trauma is EMDR. To read more about EMDR and to see if it’s right for you, click here.
Now that we know a little more about risk factors, we’ll take a moment to examine a few natural treatments for postpartum depression.
Dr. Cain’s, ND MA Top 3 Postpartum Solutions:
- Liver Support
Your liver is the control center when it comes to regulating your hormones and impacting detoxification. During the postpartum period, hormone levels working towards equilibrium, and these fluctuations can contribute to or cause depression and anxiety. Supporting your liver can facilitate this process. My favorite supplements for the liver are Selenium, Alpha Lipoic Acid, and Milk Thistle. You can order these items here!
- Heal the Gut
Did you know that 95% of your serotonin is made in your gut? This is why our digestive health often ebbs and flows in concert with our emotional well-being. Healing the gut will profoundly impact not only your mood but will also increase your energy, motivation, improve sleep and help eliminate that brain fog. My favorite ways to heal the gut are to take out foods that are pro-inflammatory (bread, sugars, alcohol), and to focus more on whole foods, healthy fats, and proteins. I also typically recommend a good broad-spectrum probiotic and digestive enzymes if needed. To download a copy of the Gut Psychology Program, Click Here.
- Natural Anxiolytics
The word anxiolytic means to reduce or eliminate anxiety. Many moms who are nursing, are reluctant to take pharmaceutical medications because of the risk of the drug passing into the breast milk. But don’t fret! There are wonderful, effective natural options that might just be the ticket to helping you feel more calm and relaxed. Here my top favorite recommendations:
- Rescue Remedy: These flower essences by Bach Flower are safe to take all day and you can get them dispensed as lozenges or in a liquid.
- L-Theanine: This is my favorite go-to for anxiety. Some people do quite nicely on 100 mg but I’ve given my clients upwards of 400 mg if the anxiety, depression, or trauma is more acute.
- Homeopathy: Homeopathy is completely safe, effective and a well-prescribed remedy by a trained physician is more powerful than any other medicine I have encountered.
- Scutellaria lateriflora: This wonderful little herb is considered by the eclectics to be a safe herb to take for anxiety while the mother is nursing. I like to recommend the alcohol-free extract and typically mothers take 3 dropperfuls up to 3 times per day.
- As always, talking to someone who is compassionate, trained, and available can be profoundly impactful. Here is a must-know resource: The Postpartum Support International Phone Number: 800-994-4PPD (4773)