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Following delivery, approximately 13% of new mothers experience a major depressive episode (Wisner et al., 2002). Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids offer significant health benefits to pregnant and nursing women and their infants. There’s no doubt that pregnancy is an amazing time for a woman, but with all the hormonal changes and emotional stress that come with it, many women also find that what should be a happy time in their lives is tainted by feelings of depression. For women who are concerned about exposing their unborn babies to anti-depressants, light therapy may be a natural alternative, according to the Mayo Clinic. Meditation is a wonderful tool to use to relax during pregnancy and to prepare for childbirth, but it can also be an effective natural treatment against depression.
Nevertheless, many new mothers are reluctant to take medications while nursing because they are concerned about the potential adverse effects on their infant. However, few studies have examined these alternative treatments for depression occurring in the postpartum period. While some anti-depressants are approved for use during pregnancy, according to CNN, many expectant moms choose to look for a more natural treatment for depression to protect their unborn baby. Mild cases of depression may benefit from simply spending more time outside in the sunlight.
Deep breathing exercises can help lower blood pressure and encourage deeper sleep if done before bedtime. According to the Mayo Clinic, some studies indicate that fish oil may be as effective as antidepressants for treating depression. All Rights Reserved.Reproduction of any portion of this website only at the express permission of Mom, Inc.

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Whether you are already using western fertility treatments, such as IVF or IUI, or are trying for pregnancy on your own, acupuncture is a fantastic way to improve your chances of a successful and healthy pregnancy. Further, antidepressants are not universally effective and often produce unacceptable side effects such as reduced libido. Underscoring the importance of maternal dietary supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids, the high fetal demand for these fatty acids can lead to a 50% reduction of the maternal levels (Hornstra, 2000).
If the preliminary data on omega-3 fatty acids' positive mood effects are corroborated in larger studies, they will become a safe and healthful treatment option for depression occurring during pregnancy and the postpartum period.
More severe or chronic cases of depression can use an artificial light therapy box each morning.
Relaxing CDs can be used to assist meditation and act as a calming influence throughout the day. Fish oil supplements may be taken, but it is important to check with a doctor before adding any supplements to your diet. Often, conception is difficult due to menstrual or hormonal irregularities or low sperm function, but other times stress, blood deficiency, or energetic blockages are impeding results. Women with a previous history of depression are at a particularly high risk for depression (Wisner et al., 2002). Many women look forward to a renewed intimacy with their partners after the pregnancy and prefer not to take medications with such a side effect. Research has demonstrated that the risk of preterm labor is reducedin women who consume omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy (Olsen and Secher, 2002).

Few side effects result from light therapy, such as suffering from headaches, but they are rare and often mild.
Lying down in a comfortable position and focusing on relaxing each part of the body, one at a time, is a simple meditation exercise that can help soothe the nerves during pregnancy.
If you currently or have previously used fertility drugs, acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help cleanse and balance the body to protect you and the baby from the harmful effects of medications. Additional risk factors include conflict with the baby's father, stressful life events and child care stresses. Eating at least two servings of fish a week can help increase your consumption of omega-3 fatty acids without adding supplements to your diet. Both men and women can benefit from the nourishing and balancing effects of acupuncture — before, during and after your pregnancy. Attending weekly therapy sessions, however, is frequently difficult for women who are looking after one or more small children at home.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that the purity and potency of commercially available preparations of St. Food and Drug Administration minimally regulates most herbal products sold in the United States.

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