Post Natal Depression has really stepped out of the shadows and into the spotlight lately. Whether it’s because more and more women are becoming aware of their bodies or because the ‘shame’ and stigma that was once associated with it is now starting to disappear. Pre Natal depression which occurs during pregnancy, is also becoming much more diagnosed now and there are more and more treatment options available.
Whilst post Natal depression is classed as a mental disorder, There are many Physical changes in the body which contribute to this and when you look at the process closer, it is easier to understand why it happens to so many women.
The main reasons are:
Being Iron deficient – Your body needs iron to make extra blood for you and the baby and helps move oxygen around your body. Not getting enough Iron can make you feel tired, drained and lead to iron deficiency anemia.
Deficiency in the B vitamins - The B vitamins keep your body and mind strong while your baby is growing.
B1 – Is involved in the baby’s brain development
B2 – keeps your eyes healthy and your skin glowing and refreshed.
B3 – works to improve your digestion, ease nausea and eases migraines.
B5 – Helps create hormones and eases leg cramps.
B6 – Is essential in growing the baby’s brain and nervous system development . It is also important for the production of norepinephrine and serotonin which are two of the most important neurotransmitters and help in easing nausea and vomiting.
B9 – Otherwise known as Folic Acid is the most important of the B vitamins during pregnancy. It helps to reduce the risk of birth defects such as Spina Bifida and other neural tube defects. Folic Acid is also needed for the production of red blood cells.
B12 – maintains your nervous system and can fight birth defects.
Vitamin D deficiency - The baby uses Vitamin D during its growth process to build its bones and teeth. Vitamin D Deficiency can also cause complications in pregnancy such as gestational diabetes, Pre-eclampsia, preterm birth and low birth weight. For the mother Vitamin D is also needed for healthy bones, moods and energy levels.
Essential Fatty acids Deficiency – Essential Fatty Acids are necessary for proper cognitive and mental function. They help the baby’s visual and nervous system development and brain growth and development. In the mother these are essential in the role of serotonin production and assists in Pre and Post natal depression.
Other factors may include:
Inability to Breast feed
Feeling overwhelmed with the responsibilities of a new baby
Not eating correctly because of nausea when pregnant or from not finding the time when you’re a new mother.
Not to mention when you add Sleep deprivation to the mix, It’s no wonder that pregnant women can suffer from Baby brain and Pre natal depression and new mums from post natal depression.
There are some easy natural solutions which can help. Consult a Naturopath who can help make the dietary changes and increase good quality supplementation.
My recommendation is to take a good practitioner strength Natal Supplement from pre-conception until the end of breast feeding. Increase Essential Fatty Acids by taking a supplement of Omega oil also increasing your good fats through foods such as Nuts, seeds, Avocado, coconut oil, hemp meal and oil, Chia seeds and oily fish such as Salmon.
Supplementing with an Organic Iron formula in the last trimester and into the first 3 months post partum especially if any blood loss has occurred is of great benefit, and Increasing Folate levels through eating lots of Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and Kale.
For additional emotional support, consider talking to a friend about how you are feeling. Often when you share your feelings with others, this sheer act of opening up about how you feel can make a huge difference. Consult an expert such as a psychologist, counselor or hypnotherapist. Have some healing sessions and if possible, get a partner, relative or friend to watch the baby so that you can get some ‘ alone’ time. Whether that’s to catch up on sleep, exercise, catch up with a friend or going to the hairdressers. It will help to make you feel happier and more relaxed!
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