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Postpartum depression is doubly hard to face; in addition to that standard features of major depression, it carries a sense of guilt. "This is supposed to be a happy, joyous time. Why do I feel so sad?" It's important to realize that your feelings are a result of a chemical imbalance, and are not your fault. In many cases, antidepressants can be very successfully used to alleviate symptoms. With their long list of side effects, though, antidepressants are something many people would rather avoid.
The following recommendations will show you how to treat postpartum depression naturally. If you have any questions about these or any other therapy, a psychiatrist or other mental health professional will be able to help and point you toward additional resources.
Pay attention to what you eat. Reduce your intake of simple carbohydrates, like those found in candy, white bread or rice, or heavily processed baked good. Your body will need carbs to repair and refuel itself after pregnancy, but try to get most of these from whole grains and other less-processed sources.
Try to avoid caffeine and alcohol. Both chemical mess with the body's natural mood cycle and can both lead to a worsening of depression symptoms. You've waited for nine months to have a drink. Hold off on the cocktails a little longer.
Ideally, you would get all of your essential nutrients from your diet. Realistically, this doesn't happen. Supplements may be a way to make up some of the deficits you accumulated during pregnancy and childbirth, as long as they don't cause you to "cheat" and eat less healthy, "real" food.
Some of the vitamins and minerals that have been linked to depression or mood more generally are the B-complex vitamins, vitamins C and D, magnesium, selenium, and folate. Omega-3 fatty acids should come from diet but may be taken as supplements. St. John's wort is also a popular mood regulator available as a supplement.
Before taking any drugs or supplements, though, consult your doctor. This is especially true for new mothers and triply true for mothers who are currently breastfeeding. Some chemicals can easily pass into breastmilk and in the wrong doses cause harm to the baby.
It easy, inexpensive, and has been shown time and again to improve mood. When you've just been through childbirth and have a new baby at home, it may not be possible to train for a marathon (though some new moms have done just that!), but even taking ten minutes for a slow walk through the neighborhood can do wonders.
Another increasingly popular option for new moms is yoga. It's low impact, great for flexibility and weight loss, and there may even be a special postpartum class nearby.
If you want to treat postpartum depression naturally, there are few things more natural than white light. While typically prescribed for seasonal affective disorder, there is evidence to suggest that light therapy, where you sit under a specially-designed lamp for up to an hour a day, may also be effective for treating postpartum and other types of depression.
The lamps can be expensive, ranging from $150 to $500, but since you can do other things like feed or play with your new baby while using them, they are an attractive option for moms.
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