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admin 27.02.2014

Many women experiencing a Perinatal Mood or Anxiety Disorder (PMAD), like Postpartum Depression, are looking for alternative treatment options.
The good news is, with more and more research on PMADs, there are more Complementary and Alternative Modalities (CAM) available than ever before. 1)     Exercise: Exercise is a well-validated component of physical and mental health, so it’s no surprise that exercise is also considered an important part of pregnancy and postpartum depression treatment.
3)     Light Therapy: Phototherapy, or Light Therapy, is a well-validated treatment for depression in general, and also for postpartum depression. 4)     Omega-3 Fatty Acids: The cardiovascular benefits of Omega-3’s are well-documented, but did you know that Omega-3’s benefit your mental health as well?
6)     Acupuncture: Not only has acupuncture been shown to improve physical health, it also increases relaxation, sleep quality, and reduces fatigue and stress. Hopefully you can see that alternative postpartum depression treatment methods are available, and they can make a big difference in your pregnancy or postpartum well-being.
As much as I wanted to enjoy the newborn period with my first baby, the harsh reality is that it was not like I envisioned it. This may seem like an impossible feat with a newborn, but everyone knows that when you go without quality sleep, your ability to function and mood are directly affected. The initial postpartum recovery period is typically 6 weeks before a mom is given the okay after the first postpartum visit to begin working out again.
Exhaustion and depression combined with a needy baby make it very challenging to prepare meals. There are no substitutes for a healthy diet; however, most people do not eat a variety of foods to cover basic nutrients and vitamins needed. Try to begin for a minimum of 5 minutes a day of quiet, uninterrupted time for yourself to focus on enhancing your inner calm and to practice your deep breathing. There are many different brands of essential oils that have blends to combat various ailments such as anxiety and depression. More women are choosing to have their placentas dehydrated after delivery and encapsulated to help combat postpartum depression.
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. Researchers have identified a link between higher levels of the “love” hormone oxytocin in the third trimester and pregnancy and a greater severity of postpartum depression (PPD) symptoms in women previously diagnosed with the mental condition. Study authors at Northwestern University said their findings, drawn from 66 pregnant women who weren’t depressed, could lead to the development of a test that would predict PPD. Although the researchers expected the opposite to be true— that low oxytocin levels would signal more severe PPD symptoms— Massey said emerging research suggests depression can alter the oxytocin receptor in a way that makes it less efficient. Researchers measured participants’ oxytocin levels in the third trimester and depression symptoms six weeks postpartum.
Massey argued in the news release for more screening of pregnancy-related depression and stressed the need for a predictive test of the condition, which can make many mothers feel like they are failing. Depression therapy requires a different approach, mostly because some people are not that happy about using antidepressants. Latest studies have shown that acupuncture provides amazing results in the treatment of depression.
Acupuncture is a therapy in which acupuncturist inserts needles in certain points in patient’s skin.
Experts explain that acupuncture prevents sexual-impeding side-effects from drugs prescribed for the treatment of depression. Moreover, natural medicine and acupuncture provide great potential in the treatment of depression and chronic anxiety, relieving stress and emotional burden. Correlating acupuncture with CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (counseling used in the treatment of depression and anxiety) is an excellent way to learn more about its efficacy, as they provide similar benefits.
As we already said, acupuncture can be used as a single therapy, but in the treatment of persistent diseases, it can be conjoined with any other alternative method. At the beginning of the therapy, you can apply the treatments 6-10 times a week, and then do the treatments once or twice a week, depending on their effectiveness. If you find acupuncture to be painful or unpleasant for you, you are perceiving things wrond. They are painless, even though some feel a pulling sensation, and Chinese perceive this as a strong connection between the needles and patient’s Qi, or life force. Women want alternatives to taking medications, not only to avoid their potential side effects (especially in pregnancy and breastfeeding), but also for a greater sense of control and autonomy, and a desire for a more holistic approach. These non-medical interventions are generally considered safe for babies and moms alike, making them a great option to add to your postpartum depression treatment. In fact, pregnant and postpartum women who exercise regularly tend to have lower rates of depression, better quality of sleep, and lower rates of fatigue overall.
Not only does it relieve muscle tension and improve relaxation and sleep quality, but research shows it can also reduce anxiety, depression, and maternal stress. This form of treatment involves early morning light exposure, which not only helps boost your mood, but also helps reset your sleep cycle, enabling you to fall asleep and wake up earlier. In fact, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, like those found in Fish Oil, can have an antidepressant effect on mild to moderate depression, and have been shown to improve pregnancy and postpartum depression without the negative side effects that medications can have. Acupuncture has also been validated as a safe and effective treatment for pregnancy and postpartum depression—another option worth checking into. For mild symptoms, CAMs may serve as the main intervention, but for most women, CAMs work best as supplements to other forms of postpartum depression treatment. But just like other mental illnesses, postpartum depression still has a stigma around it, and does not get near the discussion it warrants. This is characterized as crying, mood swings, anxiety and difficulty sleeping according to the Mayo Clinic.


But if the funk you are in becomes more intense and lasts longer, you may have postpartum depression. That’s why people turn to processed foods for a quick bite to eat knowing good and well it is not helping anyone. Eating small amounts of protein throughout the day helps keep blood sugar levels even, and therefore stabilizes mood.
Low levels of iron especially after having a baby can leave you feeling tired and depleted. Even if you’re not in the mood, force yourself to pop in a comedy or turn on your favorite sitcom. The placenta is a fascinating organ that surrounds the fetus in the womb and allows for the exchange of nutrients, blood and waste with the mother.
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.
Thirteen of the women had a history of depression before the pregnancy, and among these women, study authors found that, the higher their oxytocin levels, the more depressive symptoms they had at six weeks.
This comes due to the great discovery that these drugs harm health and affect baby’s development during pregnancy.
It is not only an alternative method used in the treatment of depression, but also relieves side-effects caused by drugs used for the same purpose. A 12-week acupuncture treatment helps both men and women to improve normal sexual functioning.
Researchers have also found that massage therapy  increases the feel-good chemicals in your brain (like serotonin and dopamine) that make you feel well, while simultaneously reducing stress hormones, like cortisol. If you live in a sunny place, sit outside or in front of a sun-filled window in the early morning for 20-60 minutes. Additionally, “Most of the data we have so far suggests there is an additional response of adding omega-3 fatty acids to someone’s antidepressant medication regiment. Whether through a doula or another home-visitor program, in-home support can provide practical help (like caring for the baby or housework so mom can sleep) and emotional help (like non-directive counseling or just a listening ear) that can alleviate symptoms of PMADs. For optimal pregnancy or postpartum mental health, work with your medical or mental health provider to explore all of your options, and find what works best for you. I had a late postpartum hemorrhage, which made recovery even harder, and I quickly became depressed. Symptoms typically begin within a few short days after delivery, and can last around two weeks. Symptoms begin within the first couple weeks after birth, but may begin as late as six months according to the Mayo Clinic. A quick little nap or even closing your eyes to rest for twenty minutes here and there is important when keeping up with the demands of a newborn. But it just recently dawned on me (16 months later…) that if I am unable to have someone watch my son to work out alone, I’m just going to have to incorporate him into my routine. Eating meat, poultry, and fish along with low glycemic carbs such as nuts, whole grains, and beans has also been shown to boost production of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter in the brain that has a calming effect. Sure it may give you the pep you need in the morning, but continuing to drink caffeinated beverages all day can leave you jittery, anxious, and unable to sleep. By going into that quiet and calm place through mediation or deep breathing, it will allow you to reconnect with yourself. Eating ones placenta has actually been around for centuries and was often practiced in Chinese medicine. 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. Adding exercise to psychotherapy or medications can also boost the effectiveness of those treatments and help you feel better quicker. Some studies even show that massage in pregnancy reduces the incidence of low birthweight and prematurity too. If there’s no sun out, you can buy a light box (7,000-10,000 lux intensity—sold online and in many stores) and sit in front of it for the same amount of time to get the same effect.
What’s really exciting about omega-3 fatty acids in the study of pregnancy and post-partum is babies need omega-3 fatty acids for optimal neurocognitive development.
Research also shows that when home visitors receive even basic training on postpartum depression and counseling skills, the benefits can be even greater. A dark cloud circled me constantly during the never ending days that seemed to drag on forever. A problem many moms encounter when trying to sleep is turning off the anxiety and worries of the day in their mind in order to fall asleep faster. The more variety of nutrients I can eat in my diet, the better chance I have of not having any deficiencies which could contribute to postpartum depression.
A lot of people choose to meal prep before having the baby knowing that the demands of a newborn limit quality cooking in the kitchen. Don’t forget if you’re breastfeeding it is recommended to have no more than 300 mg of caffeine a day anyway. Meditation often allows people to target the negative thoughts that are plaguing them and begin to let them go. My little one and I have our own dance parties in the living room and before I know it we are both laughing and having fun. My depression did not go away overnight, but once I started implementing some of these changes into my daily lifestyle I started to feel better.


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). This promotes both mother and baby well-being.”Hormonal changes, genetic predisposition and social factors set the stage for some expectant moms to experience persistent irritability, feelings of being overwhelmed and inability to cope with stress, according to the researchers.
Just be sure to discuss with your healthcare provider before you begin an exercise program.
Like exercise, massage has been shown to boost the effectiveness of other perinatal treatments.
So unlike medication where we kind of wring our hands and weigh the risks and benefits of medication, we want babies to be exposed to omega-3 fatty acids” (Dr. So when family and friends come to visit and leave saying, “If there is anything I can do to help, just let me know!” Take them up on that offer! By the time I actually unwound for the day to sleep, the baby was waking up for another feeding.
Whatever gets you moving and breaking a sweat will release those happy endorphins and make you feel like you’ve accomplished something for the day along with helping lose the baby weight and lifting that veil of depression. Making healthy crockpot meals and freezer meals ahead of time are wonderful ways to prepare for times when you are short on energy or time to cook. Omega-3 has been shown to combat the depletion of maternal fatty acids by the fetus during pregnancy and the continued depletion through lactation. When deep breathing is practiced regularly, people benefit from the ability to quickly go back into that calm state when stressful situations arise. No studies have conclusively proven the benefits of consuming one’s placenta, but with encapsulation gaining popularity hopefully more research will be done.
Additional risk factors include conflict with the baby's father, stressful life events and child care stresses. Marlene Freeman, Harvard & Mass General Psychiatrist and a top researcher of Omega-3’s in pregnancy and postpartum).
The cycle would repeat all night long, even when the baby settled into longer stretches of sleep at night. If you don’t know where to begin with meditation, borrow a CD from your local library or download a guided meditation on line. Many mothers state that it speeds up recovery by reducing postpartum bleeding, boosting energy and elevating mood, and therefore relieving postpartum blues.
However, it is important to note that if you are ever considering hurting yourself or the baby, PLEASE get help immediately. They found that taking antidepressants while pregnant is associated with an increased risk of preterm birth.
That’s why developing feasible alternatives for treatment is critical.”Evidence suggests women are more comfortable with non-traditional treatments, including herbal medicine, relaxation techniques and mind-body work, including mindfulness yoga, which combines meditative focus with physical poses, the researcher notes. Just remember—massage therapy is not pampering, it’s a valid part of your pregnancy or postpartum emotional (and physical) health routine! Thus, Omega-3’s are generally viewed as a win-win supplement to add to your treatment routine. So have them come hold your baby so you can rest, shower, clean, workout, or just go to the store alone for the first time post-baby. I think that if I had really worked on ways to combat anxiety and depression, I could have improved my own personal sleep habits and gained some much needed rest. Attending weekly therapy sessions, however, is frequently difficult for women who are looking after one or more small children at home. Though Omega-3’s are found in a variety of foods, fish sources are the most recommended for mental health benefits, and 1-3 grams per day is the recommended dose. New moms especially have a difficult time adjusting to the sudden change of having a human being rely on them for everything. Postpartum depression can be treated naturally, but some people need medical intervention and should speak with their midwife or OB as soon as possible. The only downside seems to be mild gastrointestinal symptoms in some women, so if your stomach can handle it, I always recommend a fish oil supplement for pregnant and postpartum women. I could have worn my newborn, dressed us both accordingly, and still had gone outside to get the fresh air I so desperately needed those first few months!
It is important to keep in mind, however, that the purity and potency of commercially available preparations of St.
She has worked at a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites, covering everything from aviation to finance to healthcare. Food and Drug Administration minimally regulates most herbal products sold in the United States. This type of therapy might be effective for women who get the blues in the fall or winter, says C. And a number of small trials suggest that supplementing with as little as 300 milligrams daily of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, might not only alleviate depression during pregnancy but also prevent it postpartum. Epperson's team also recently began studying a noninvasive technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation, which uses a magnetic coil placed on the scalp to stimulate nerve cells in areas of the brain involved in mood control.
With her doctor's blessing, Trojanowski participated in an 8-week mindfulness meditation and yoga class and found relief for her depression, without antidepressants.
Says Dimidjian, "The most important thing is that you do something."When Antidepressants Might be the AnswerWhile many pregnant women with mild depression can find relief without medication, C.



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