Most of us, when faced with a potential medical problem, turn to our trusty friend Google for a few recommendations on how to treat the problem "naturally." You know, just so we can delay taking that often necessary leap and making an appointment with a doctor. That might be an OK strategy for dealing with athlete's foot or a cold sore, but for postpartum depression (PPD) it's not the way to go. There might be ways you can help treat PPD naturally, but you'll want to head to your doctor first, and always, to find out if they are appropriate for you to explore (and if they shouldn't be used in addition to other methods of treatment, like medication and/or counseling).
After you've had a baby, it's important to keep an eye out for any symptoms you may be experienced that might indicate that you have postpartum depression. While it can be hard to know whether your emotions are "normal" after giving birth, or whether they're an indication something more serious is occurring, symptoms that last longer than two weeks can be an indication that you are developing PPD.
According to Healthline, "It’s common to experience what’s often referred to as the 'baby blues' after giving birth. Your hormone levels go up and down after labor and delivery and as they attempt to stabilize post-pregnancy. These changes can trigger mood swings, anxiety, trouble sleeping, and more. If your symptoms last longer than two weeks, you may have postpartum depression."
When you have an appointment with your doctor, it's worth asking about natural remedies that might help improve your postpartum depression as part of your treatment plan. According to Parents, increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids — from sources like chia seeds, flax seeds or salmon — might help improve your PPD symptoms.
Taking care of yourself is critical to helping treat postpartum depression, and while your baby might be taking up all of your brain space, you might need a little physical space in order to relax and improve your PPD. WebMD says you might benefit from some exercise, like walking around the neighborhood with your baby in a stroller or carrie. The site also reports that a balanced diet, that stays away from alcohol, can be beneficial when attempting to combat postpartum depression symptoms. Talking about how you're feeling with a loved one can also help, as can speaking with a licensed mental health professional.
Postpartum depression is typically a more intense experience than what you would endure if you just had the "baby blues," especially in the first two weeks. Healthline explains further, reporting, "You may experience excessive crying episodes. You may find yourself withdrawing from friends and family or other social situations. You may even have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby." If you have any of these aforementioned symptoms, contact your doctor immediately and make an appointment with him or her to discuss your symptoms and potential treatment plans.
There are other symptoms of PPD that you should be on the look out for after giving birth, as well, and according to The Mayo Clinic. If you suffer from severe mood swings, an extreme lack of energy, anger or irritability, difficulty making decisions, anxiety or panic attacks, or difficulty bonding with your baby, please make an appointment with your primary care provider.
It can be difficult to seek help for yourself when a tiny human being is completely dependent on you, but it's imperative that you do so in order to ensure you and your baby are in the best condition for bonding and growing.
Whatever "natural" remedies you may or may not consider, one thing is undeniably clear: you should speak with your doctor immediately if you think you may be suffering from postpartum depression.
If you struggle with depression or feelings of self-harm, please seek professional help or call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
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