Postpartum Depression is now often referred to as Perinatal Mood Disorder because these issues are not just limited to postpartum or to just depression. Depression, anxiety and other mood disorders are common in pregnancy and the first year postpartum and the new term applies to all of these. Hormonal changes, thyroid issues, progesterone deficiency, physical and psychological stressors, and nutrient deficiencies are often causes. Getting help early is important. Most moms tell me after they have received treatment that they wish they had done it sooner because treatment made such a difference in them and they feel that they lost valuable time enjoying their new baby and nourishing their relationships.
At Sweet Child O’ Mine we use the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression tool both during pregnancy and postpartum to help us assess if a mom is at risk for Perinatal Mood Disorder.
When a mother is struggling with depression and/or anxiety, we often recommend nutrient and thyroid testing to see if these are the causes. We also recommend several nutritional supplements to start with to nourish the nervous system, fight stress, relax nerves and muscles and balance seratonin levels: Omega 3 fish oils (three a day), B complex (2 a day), Vitamin D3 (5,000 IU daily), Calcium Magnesium (1000 mg calcium/500 mg magnesium), 5-HTP (100 mg at night before bed). Here’s a great article that discusses some natural treatments for postpartum depression. “One in seven new moms experiences postpartum depression. If you’re currently dealing with it, you don’t have to go it alone. Find out more about what causes postpartum depression and get nine natural treatments to help you counteract it.”
Sometimes, natural remedies are just not enough and medication may be needed. Sometimes, it is only needed for a few months but can be so helpful to get you back on your feet quickly. With breastfeeding, the preferred medication is usually Zoloft (sertraline) at 25 or 50 mg a day. We can prescribe this if needed and will also refer you for additional help with support groups, therapists, and a psychiatrist who can monitor your treatment. We recommend the 7th Mom Project, a local non-profit organization, as a great local resource for Perinatal Mood Disorders, support groups and relevant resources. If you need help or think you may be struggling with a Perinatal Mood Disorder, please reach out to 7th Mom Project or your healthcare provider. Your Midwife Group at Sweet Child O’ Mine is always ready to help you.