Did you know that up to 85% of women experience some form of disturbed mood following pregnancy?
If left untreated, unaddressed, or unrecognized, this can lead to Post-Partum Depression which puts both the mom and baby at risk of negative long term effects, both behavioural and developmental.
While it is difficult to accurately predict who is most at risk, there are 3 main areas to consider:
Healthy Hormone Balance:
Since a history of PMS is associated with post-partum, getting hormone balance in check prior to pregnancy could help with prevention. Estrogen dominance, which is often involved in PMS and other hormonal concerns, is a state where estrogen is higher relative to progesterone. This does not always mean that there is too much estrogen however, it could be more of a lack of progesterone from anovulatory cycles for example [lack of ovulation] which could occur for several reasons. [Treat the cause!]
Our experience of stress causes the release of cortisol. Since the creation of cortisol, which is a hormone much like estrogen or progesterone, requires the same building blocks as our other hormones, it can actually lead to decreased production of progesterone. Our body would rather use it's resources to deal with stress rather than focus on conception!
Because both personal and family history of mood concerns can increase the risk of post-partum, it is important to reflect on this prior to pregnancy. There can be many factors involved in mood disturbances such as inflammation, hormone imbalance, poor blood sugar regulation. Depending on which triggers are involved, different supplements and dietary approaches can be used to create a more stable mood. For example:
While prevention is ideal, many of these strategies are still useful and can be applied for women experiencing post-partum depression!
As always, before making any dietary or supplement changes, it is important to consult with your Naturopathic Doctor or Family Doctor.
Yours in health,
Dr. Ashley Nelson, ND
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