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Postpartum Depression

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Postpartum depression (PPD) is a condition that describes a range of physical and emotional changes that many mothers experience after having a baby. PPD can range in severity but is often more significant than the common baby blues new moms experience.

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a condition that describes a range of physical and emotional changes that many mothers experience after having a baby. PPD can range in severity but is often more significant than the common baby blues new moms experience.

When to Get Help

Symptoms of the baby blues, such as crying for no reason or experiencing mood swings, typically lift within one to two weeks. Symptoms associated with PPD are often longer lasting and more pronounced and include feelings of sadness, despair, anxiety, irritability; eating in excess, difficulty focusing, and thoughts of hurting oneself or the baby.

If symptoms like these keep a woman from doing the things she normally does during the day such as showering, driving, or leaving the house, she needs help from a health care provider and/or family member immediately.

Alternative Treatment

In addition to, or as an alternative to, the traditional approach of treating PPD with medication, there are holistic and natural therapies that can help heal a mother's mind and body during this difficult time.

According to Ayurvedic medicine, the time following the birth of a child is one of the most difficult and significant times for a woman. Because of this, it is critical for her to have significant emotional and nutritional support to help her transition properly. Thus Ayurvedic medicine emphasizes the importance of proper nourishment and herbs for new moms.

Meals need to be moist in consistency, made from fresh whole foods, and served warm. Stews, soups, and slow-cooked oatmeal are good choices. Dishes should be prepared with digestive spices such as cumin, caraway, ginger, mustard seed, and cinnamon. It is also best to avoid caffeine and white sugar due to their immune-suppressing and stimulant effects.

New moms should be encouraged to drink as much fresh clean water and herbal tea as possible to help flush out and heal their systems. The herb blessed thistle (Cnicus benedictus) is also said to lift postpartum depression and relieve suicidal feelings.

To make a new mom more relaxed, warm baths and massages are recommended. Foot or back rubs using products that contain essential oils such as lavender are a wonderful way to de-stress and let go of external pressures. If weather permits, getting a new mom to walk outside and be in the sunshine will help lift her feelings of anxiety and irritability.

If you or someone you love has PPD, talk with your health care provider. Most importantly, during this time a mother must receive a lot of support from family and friends. A husband, mother, or close friend should be nominated to stay with the new mom at all times to assist and support her.

A new mom experiencing a roller coaster of emotions must also be assured that her feelings are not uncommon and that the fog will eventually lift. Giving her unlimited love and support will ensure that, before long, mom and baby will be able to deal with their new surroundings and conditions.

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