Treating the baby blues can be tricky. You have to think about your health and the wellbeing of your little person. For some moms, antidepressants are not an option. Others would like to try alternatives in conjunction with the medication they’re on. Whatever your needs, we’ve got a few suggestions that may help if you’re feeling down. (Important note: We’re not suggesting that you stop any antidepressant medication that you’re currently on without the advice and supervision of your doctor).
- GET CHECKED OUT – First, and most importantly, consult your doctor and a psychiatric professional. You’ll need a full set of blood work checks and a complete physical done before you decide to supplement your diet or take up exercise. The tests will show what your body is missing and will help your doctor determine the right supplement dosages or exercise programme for you.
- Bypass those hormonal lows – During pregnancy, your brain and endocrine system are pumping the hormones necessary for a healthy baby into your body. Once you’ve had your bouncing bundle, your progesterone levels will drop. Some women are more sensitive to the symptoms of this than others. You might feel cranky, tired, fidgety, or just down for no reason. Ask your doctor to check your blood work, and if your progesterone levels are too low, consider bioidentical progesterone replacement therapy.
- Choose the right vitamins – Many people with depression have been found to have vitamin B deficiencies. B vitamins include folic acid, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6. Taking a full spectrum vitamin B supplement can help to improve your mood. Folic acid, for example, helps you gain S-adenosyl methionine (SAM), which builds neurotransmitters. Of course, healthy neurotransmitters mean normal brain function and (usually) a good mood; and if they’re lacking, depression sets in.
- Trump up your Magnesium intake – Dr Emily Deans’ article in Psychology Today explains why magnesium deficiency causes pre- or post-natal depression. In the article she talks about how magnesium helps lessen your cortisol (the stress hormone). Magnesium also slows down the release of a hormone called ACTH. This gets your adrenal gland to push out cortisol and adrenalin (the hormone that creates a flight or fight response). Magnesium also creates a barrier in the blood, preventing the release of stress hormones into the brain. As Dr Deans says in her article,’All these reasons are why I call magnesium “the original chill pill.” ’
- Get your good oils on – Our modern eating habits mean that most people don’t get enough Omegas. Omega 3 oils, for example, make up an important part of the cell membranes. They also help molecules pass in and out of cells. Your baby needs your omega oils to help develop its brain during pregnancy, so you’ll need to supplement these before the birth, either in your diet or by taking them in pill form. Breastfeeding also removes omega oils from your system, so don’t stop taking them once your pregnancy is over.
Of course all of this can be a lot to take in but essentially, staying active, doing things you love (that are safe for your health) and supplementing your diet with natural feel-good foods, vitamins and minerals can make a big difference to your state of mind. Remember that rest is also important, as well as spending time and talking with friends and family.
Disclaimer: If you suspect you may be suffering from depression, contact a local mental health specialist for medical guidance. It can really make a big difference to your quality of life. And remember, someone is always there to help!
The Post Natal Depression Support Association in Bergvliet on: 021 823 7333.