I feel the awareness of postpartum has been rising in recent years. I read that anywhere from 15 to 25% of women suffer some kind of depression post pregnancy (it’s hard to pin down an actual number because it often times goes undiagnosed). Many feel the post baby blues, but postpartum can continue on for months. What does postpartum feel like?
- lack of energy
- hard time concentrating
- trouble sleeping
- loss of appetite
- lose of pleasure in previously enjoyable activities
- difficulty bonding with your baby
So what causes us to feel so down? Robb Wolf’s site says that: The placenta directs a huge amount of control over both fetus and mom..it can sieve omega-3′s out of the moms body for the fetal brain development. As we discussed the last week with breastfeeding, nutritional deficiencies can easily occur, because so much is going to the baby and we are not getting enough nutrients in our diet to provide for us too. Add to this our ration of omega-3 to omega-6. Ideally they say we should have a 1:1 or 1:3 ratio, but due to our modern eating habits this ratio can be as bad as 1:11 or even worse 1:20! This is largely due to the amount of processed foods and inflammatory fats (vegetable oils recommended for a healthy heart). Plus a lack of quality grass-fed meats, pasture-raised eggs, and wild caught fish. Inflammation and high levels are associated with stress, so why not postpartum too, especially since babies are getting nutritional priority?
When you look at the who’s at risk list, you’ll find: someone previously suffering from depression, someone with a poor support system, and stress. Can we prevent postpartum then? I can’t give a definitive answer to this, but we can: Make sure you’re getting enough nutrients, especially omega-3, eat less inflammatory foods, and manage your stress. All we can do is practice healthy lifestyle habits (do our best).