Many women feel a bit down, tearful or anxious in the first week after giving birth. This is often called the “baby blues” and is so common that it’s considered normal. The “baby blues” don’t last for more than a couple of weeks after giving birth, but if symptoms last longer or start later, you could have postnatal depression.
Postnatal depression can start any time in the first year after giving birth and many new mums don’t talk about it assuming that everyone expects them to be deliriously happy and able to cope with everything like superwoman.
And then there are women who don’t realise they have postnatal depression, because it can develop over time. But if you or a new mum you know is suffering from a persistent feeling of sadness and low mood, lack of energy over and above the norm for a new mum, trouble sleeping even when baby is fast asleep, difficulty bonding, withdrawing from family and friends, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, or frightening thoughts it could be cause for concern.
A recent study by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists found that 81% of women surveyed had experienced at least one episode of a mental health problem during or after their pregnancy – and only 7% of women with pregnancy-related mental health problems, such as postnatal depression, received they specialist care they needed
So what treatment or help is on offer?
Well consulting your GP is the first step for most women however, all too often a course of anti-depressants will be the default approach. While this is a route many women might choose to take there are other more natural approaches.
talking to your family and friends about your feelings can be incredibly helpful
Make time for yourself
making time for yourself to do things you enjoy, resting whenever you get the chance and getting as much sleep as you can at night
Regular exercise is nature’s anti-depressant. Whether it’s aerobic or something more gentle like walking or yoga, studies have shown that exercise improves mood and all types of anxiety.
We all know that eating a healthy is crucial to health here are a few Vits that are known to Fight Depression:
Zinc is important in supporting different processes in the brain and body. Lack of zinc in your diet can lead to irritability and depression. Good sources of zinc include eggs, fish, turkey, oysters, beef, wheat germ, and yogurt.
Vitamin C deficiencies have shown to be linked to depression. Get your vitamin C from citrus fruits, broccoli, green leafy vegetables (especially kale), tomato puree, peas, raspberries, spring onions, and turnips.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown in numerous clinical studies to combat depression as well as bi-polar disorder. Add servings of omega-3 rich fish like herring, sardines, tuna, and salmon to your diet. Walnut and canola oil are also excellent sources.
Adding servings of calcium-rich foods may help ward off depression and anxiety. Your best bets for calcium are yogurt, cheese, sardines with bones, milk, salmon with bones, sesame seeds, or calcium-fortified juices.
Research from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts found that levels of folic acid (folate) were much lower among people suffering from depression than in people who were not depressed. Folic acid is plentiful in avocados, leafy green veggies, grapefruit, black eyed peas, orange juice, and most fruits. It is important to avoid food that will zap your energy like alcohol, fats, caffeine, white flour products, and simple carbohydrates like sugar, honey, or soft drinks. Remember to include healthy snacks between meals or eat five or six mini meals each day. In addition, keep yourself hydrated as one of the largest causes of fatigue is dehydration.
Psychological therapy – Clinical hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, cognitive behaviour therapy all work on a subconscious level.
Some new mums feel guilty about going through postnatal depression. They can’t understand why they feel low or depressed after an event that is supposed to be joyful. However, there are often other underlying issues that may have triggered postnatal depression, after all each person’s experience is unique. In therapy we can begin to ‘re-programme’ the mind, in a way specific to your needs, to be free from negative feelings and emotions and to help you to begin to enjoy being a parent.
If you or someone you know is suffering with postnatal / postpartum depression clinical hypnotherapy can help.
Get in touch today.
Gail Marra D.Hyp MNCH (Acc) LAPHP is a GHR registered Clinical Hypnotherapist accredited by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, Association for Professional Hypnosis and Psychotherapy, National Register of Psychotherapists and Counsellors and the Complimentary and Natural Healthcare Council
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