Are you feeling sad or low, anxious, overwhelmed? Perhaps even angry and irritable? You may feel happy and in control one moment, and the next you are in tears. What’s going on? You could be suffering with postpartum mood disorder, and it’s totally normal.
Our postpartum hormone, prolactin, is designed to be a natural antidepressant. It helps to calm and reduce anxiety. However, this doesn’t work for everyone and a build-up of sleep deprivation, nutrient depletion and adjustment to motherhood can leave some mamas with low mood and anxiety – in fact, it’s thought that around 85% of new mothers will feel these emotions at some point, so you’re not alone mama.
What can you do to help reduce these feelings?
Here are 6 strategies that can help mamas reduce their risk of postpartum anxiety or improve symptoms in those of you who might be experiencing low mood.
- Having at least 4 hours of sleep in one chunk has been shown to help. So if you can pump, ask your partner to take a feed so you can get a longer stretch.
- Your essential fatty acids EPA and DHA are at an all-time low postpartum. These are essential for brain health and mood regulation. Either supplement with a high-quality fish oil such as barebiology or include oily fish (i.e. salmon, sardine or mackerel) in your diet at least 3 times a week.
- Amino acid supplementation with thyrocin and tryptophan. These two naturally occurring amino acids work to increase our body’s MAOA receptors which help to produce serotonin, neurofuran and dopamine. These hormones make us feel relaxed, chilled out and are naturally anti-anxiety. You can increase your levels of these amino acids by eating protein rich foods (I.e. turkey) that contain these amino acids or supplement with them.
- Enjoy a colourful, nutrient dense diet and continue to take a high quality (non-synthetic, biologically active) postnatal multivitamin supplement (Innate Response or Naterelo).
- Take gentle movement, ideally out in nature.
- Prioritise your self-care, time for you and ask for help where you can.
- Nurture your gut.
Anything else I should be aware of?
It’s important to remember that maternal mood disorders, anxiety and depression do not necessarily have to occur within the first 6-12 months after having a baby. The depletion, inflammation, hormonal imbalances and sociological factors can stay with a mama for years and appear having bubbled under the surface for a decade. So look out for each other – we mamas good at ploughing on and hiding what’s going on under the surface.
We explore this and more in the Nourished Mums programme to help you get you back to feeling like YOU again. You can find out more about the Nourished Mums programme on our homepage, or get in contact to discuss and find out whether the programme is right for you.