Shedding Light on Mommy Blues
By Melissa Gallagher
The joy of the holiday season has passed and we are settling into the
darker, cooler Southern California winter. What do new moms experiencing
symptoms of depression/span> do when coming down from the high of the holidays
coupled with the lack of sunny days?
Many new mothers,
especially those who choose to live a natural, organic and
chemical-free lifestyle, are often challenged with the choices when seeking
treatment for postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression is classified as a
major depressive disorder
characterized by a variety of mental and physical symptoms that produce
significant distress and
detrimental changes in life functions. Most
mothers experience depressive symptoms within the first four weeks after
delivery; however, research has shown that women continue to remain at risk
for mental disorders even several months after delivery.
Postpartum depression is a common
mood disorder and found in at least 10-15%
of all new moms. Famous mothers like
Brooke Shields, are helping
illustrate the challenges and effects of this very serious disorder.
Symptoms of Pregnancy Depression & Postpartum Depression
Feeling worthless or guilty
Feeling sad and overwhelmed
Increased or decreased appetite
Hormonal changes may trigger
symptoms of postpartum depression. During
pregnancy, women experience increased levels of the
female hormones estrogen
and progesterone. In the first 24 hours after childbirth, hormone levels
quickly return to normal.
Researchers think the big change in hormone levels may be the root cause of
postpartum depression. These changes are similar to the way smaller
changes can affect a woman's moods before she gets her period; changes
commonly coined as PMS.
thyroid hormones may also drop after
giving birth. The thyroid,
small gland in the neck, helps regulate how the body uses and stores energy
from food. Low levels of thyroid hormones can cause symptoms of depression.
A simple blood test can tell if this condition is causing your symptoms. If
so, your doctor can prescribe thyroid medicine or a natural treatment of
liquid kelp or seaweed salad may help.
Many mothers, especially
those breastfeeding their babies, choose not to take
and thyroid medicine. The fear of chemical transference is great when
breastfeeding and can often add a great
level of stress to the
There are other postpartum treatment options and most
beneficial ‹ apart from diet ‹ is
light therapy. There have been numerous
studies that have utilized bright light, full-spectrum light therapy (10,000
Full Spectrum light lamps or "happy lamps" emit natural light similar to
that from the sun minus the harmful UVA and UVB rays that are linked to
cancer, advancing skin aging, skin spots and even potential damage to our
Full-spectrum light allows the body to produce Vitamin D naturally and
deficiency is now linked with increased risk of
cancer; both of which have higher incidences in the Northern parts of the
U.S. Similarly Vitamin D is currently being studied as a potential
natural treatment for depression.
There are a number of natural and holistic remedies better suited for the
new mother's body than conventional medicine and can provide a solution on
how to beat postpartum depression. Herbal and homeopathic remedies can
provide harmony in the body to better balance your moods and feelings
without the side effects and potential for dependency associated with the
A very popular and effective approach is the use of aromatherapy.
oils of lemon, grapefruit and geranium are well known for their
anti-depressant properties and may be introduced into the environment by
means of oil diffusers, space sprays, in a bath oil or during massage.
It is natural for new moms to experience spikes of hormones that may cause a
slight, moderate or even a severe case of depression. Light therapy may
represent a natural and chemical-free treatment for postpartum depression,
especially for women who choose to breastfeed their babies.
Melissa Gallagher is a naturopath and founder of Healing Being, LLC,
offering a complete line of organic, homeopathic, naturopathic and
alternative health and wellness products including prenatal DHA,Children's
DHA and full-spectrum light therapy lamps. Please visit
for additional information or call
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