You are a new mom. Your little miracle, your very own bundle of joy is here now. You anticipated for this day for 9 long months. You imagined how perfect things would be. And now when it’s here & your baby is in the world; you can’t help but feel lonely and uncertain. This feeling of emptiness, confusion and anxiety is coupled with severe pain from stitches is one of the most common after effect of child birth. This is called Postpartum blues, depression or commonly called as Baby blues.
Pregnancy comes with its fair share of troubles for almost every mom. From difficulty breathing, to uncontrolled urination, from being unable to move to difficulty sleeping. The list is as long as it gets. Until the moment when you hold your heart and soul in the form of your baby. However, for some woman the first few weeks is physically and emotionally draining. Health professionals refer the 1st three months as the 4th Trimester. this often leads to characteristic symptoms of a depressive state called as Postpartum depression.
What are the symptoms of postpartum depression:
- Random Crying episodes
- Irritability and fatigue
- Anger and short temperament
- Having a hard time to perform baby jobs
- Having a hard time to feel attached towards the new born baby
- Difficulty to bond with baby
- Feeling of anxiousness and stress
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Occurrence of suicidal thoughts
- Psychosis and paranoia
- Disorientation and confusion
- Loss of sense of time and place
What causes postpartum depression
During pregnancy there is a spike in Estrogen and Progesterone hormones. These hormones act as body’s natural antidepressants. during the luteal phase of menstrual cycle; a larger blood conc. of progesterone particularly causes a decrease in depression like symptoms.
However, when the placenta is removed after the delivery there is a gradual yet substantial decrease in placental hormone that is Progesterone and estrogen. Due to this decrease; the body is likely to suffer from withdrawal like symptoms. These symptomatic conditions are depression like. However, some woman may suffer form more serious side effects of lower progesterone as the decline in blood conc. is higher for them.
Circumstances for the new mom:
The pain a woman endures is incomparable to any other. Be it vaginal birth or caesarian section. The body is likely to suffer during and after the procedure to some extent. However, not every woman has the luxury of help. Such circumstances lead to difficult post-partum period and as a result poor recovery. This is one of the leading causes for PPD or postpartum depression.
Risk factors for Postpartum depression:
Some women are at higher risk for developing PPD and its concomitant paranoia. This is due to some previously present health conditions and societal pressures.
Some of these factors are as follows:
- Previous occurrence of depression and anxiety
- Obsessive compulsive behavior
- Societal and peer pressure leading to demotivation
- Lack of sleep
- Poor physical recovery
- Difficulty in latching and breastfeeding
- Having more kids at a time
What foods are good for postpartum:
Treating any sort of mental health issue at home is ever an ideal option. But when it comes to postpartum depression; more often than not the new mother doesn’t even realize if she is suffering from PPD. A paper published on PPD suggest strong link between nutrient deficiencies and depression in postpartum woman. In such scenarios eating food that are natural stress relievers help treat symptoms of Postpartum depression.
Omega 3 and 6 rich foods:
Omega 3 and 6 are ideal for a new mom. They help in healing stitches and the anti-inflammatory properties of such compounds prevent the swelling and inflammation caused by tears. A quickened healing process will in turn lead to a relaxed mental state.
The main contributing constituent in this regard is Eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA. The benefits of EPA in treating depression and psychosis are largely dependent on its dose. This compound has been observed to inhibit major inflammatory trigger that is arachidonic acid. The resultant effect is profound decrease in depressive symptoms.
Food rich in omegas are:
- Seeds such as flaxseeds, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds
- Nuts such as almonds, walnuts
- Vegetables such as brussels sprouts, spinach, winter squash, cauliflower
Progesterone increasing foods:
Reduction in blood progesterone levels after delivery is a natural phenomenon. However, sometimes this leads to heavy bleeding, headaches, migraines, body aches etc. in such cases, the over all mental health is severely affected leading to irritability and frustration. Foods that naturally raise the progesterone hormone levels are extremely beneficial in this regard.
Such foods include:
- Whole Grains
- Nuts and Seeds
Zinc based diet:
Postpartum is a phase of irregular menstrual cycle. Usually, the hormones take atleast upto 6 months to get back to a normal routine. Due to this massive irregularity the hormone related mood swings began to worsen. Zinc has proven its worth in this regard.
Eating zinc base diet can cause benefits to the hormonal cycle. Zinc promotes formation and release of egg from the ovaries. This is called as ovulation and it is an extremely essential step in regulating the hormonal cycle.
Zinc has also proved to providing neuronal strength esp. to the resting state of the parasympathetic nervous system. This is particularly true for Vagus nerve. This nerve runs through entire body and acts as stimulator of relaxation against fight or flight response.
Spoloft (The SSRI without the side effects)
- 1 Apple Gala
- 2 Pomegranates
- 2 cups Grapes
- 4 Celery Stalks
- 1 Zucchini English
- 4 cups Spinach
Better hormones lead to minimum mental and physical lowness. Zinc is found in following foods:
- Green vegetables such as spinach, peas, broccoli, okra, lima beans
- Mushrooms esp. shitake mushrooms
- Sweet corn
- sweet potatoes
Vitamin B complex:
Delivery and child birth takes a huge toll on the body of a woman. However, breastfeeding also comes with some extent of challenge and getting used to. Even if the child has no problem in latching on; the physical strain of producing milk is high. For a woman already in a state of confusion; she will definitely suffer from worsening of depression symptoms. in such cases vitamin B based diet provides following benefits:
|Type of Vitamin B||benefits|
|B9 (folate)||Synthesize serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine|
|B12 (cobalamin)||Together with B3 Synthesize serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine|
|B3 (Niacin)||Essential for synthesis of serotonin from tryptophan protein.|
|B7 (biotin)||Provide cognitive strength and brain boosting effect in daily life. helps maintain the integrity of brain function.|
Foods containing vitamin B are as follows:
- Fruits such as banana, melon, water melon
- Citrus fruits such as orange, lemon, tangerines
- Avocados, apricot, tomato
- Cabbage, broccoli,
Every new mom has (to some extent) suffered from depression, confusion and irritability. The cherry on top is always the ‘mom shaming’ done by those around her. If you are a new mom who is feeling all of the above-mentioned symptoms; PLEASE PLEASE cut yourself some slack. You just made a miracle happen. You are allowed to feel anything and everything you want to.
If you are someone helping this new mom; know that you are doing the human race a splendid service by helping that mom. Be sane enough to create a sane baby.
There is no shame in asking for help. Likewise, look for the signs that show your body is also asking for help. Eat healthy and prescribed diet and let the body heal itself during its fourth trimester. Because a happy and healthy mama makes a healthy baby.