05
Aug

Homeopathy for Post Partum Depression

The birth of Shawna’s fourth child caught everyone off guard Рafter 3 natural births, it was expected to go smoothly!  Shawna felt depressed and angry after the birth because she felt, in labour, that something was wrong but felt no one listened to her concerns; it turned out after a prolonged and traumatic labour that the baby’s face was presenting first. Now she was experiencing depression, anger and exhaustion on top of breastfeeding challenges due to bruising of the baby’s face.

Shawna’s little one seemed unsettled and cried much of the time, making it even more challenging for her to cope.¬† ¬†Although she had tried to talk through her feelings she still felt really stuck in them.¬† Shawna appreciated the fact that we spent a long time together in our consultation and she had time to tell me the whole story.¬† I prescribed a homeopathic medicine for Shawna; it quickly resolved the depression and the sense of being ‚Äėstuck‚Äô in her anger.¬† Shawna said it was remarkable that when her anger subsided, the baby also stopped being ‚Äėfussy‚Äô! The baby was also given remedies such as Arnica which helped heal¬† the bruising to his face during birth.

Homeopathy offers a unique,  individualized approach that can unravel complex situations such as Shawna’s and heal wounds on the physical as well as emotional levels.

It is important that you seek the help of your family physician right away if you see signs of postpartum depression.  Along with counseling, breastfeeding support if needed,  and exercise, Homeopathy is one of the treatment options you can explore, particularly if your depression is mild to moderate and you are breastfeeding.

The post partum period is a delicate time of transition, and new moms are undergoing a life changing experience.  It is normal to feel exhausted and a bit overwhelmed!  It is important to get as much support and sleep as possible. (I highly recommend post-partum doulas to help with this!).

Post Partum Depression may be related to:

  • lack of support, exhaustion and sleep deprivation
  • exhaustion due to blood loss and/or mineral depletion
  • breastfeeding difficulties
  • a difficult or traumatic birth
  • a history of depression
  • a history of trauma/sexual abuse triggered by the birth

Are there Safe  Natural Alternatives to Anti-Depressants?

For women whose depression is mild to moderate, who want to try a natural alternative that has no risks for baby, homeopathic medicine is safe, and years of clinical experience has shown it to be effective and fast acting. ¬†¬†Many of my patients have reported feeling their depression lift within a week after taking homeopathic medicine. ¬†Homeopathy can also support women who want to wean off medications such as SSRI’s , in consultation with your family physician.

Homeopathic medicine should not be confused with herbs such as St. John’s Wort.

Homeopathic medicines are microdoses of substances found in nature such as plants or minerals, which act by gently stimulating the self -healing mechanism of the individual in a precise and powerful way.  Because they are very diluted, they are completely safe for mom and baby, and don’t interact with other medications you may be taking (unlike herbs and supplements). In my opinion, it is unwise to self-prescribe  over-the-counter herbal or homeopathic medicines for depression. Please seek the advice of a professional Homeopath if you want to try alternatives.

Mom and Baby are Connected

For women with postpartum depression there is usually more than one thing going on! A combination of factors may be affecting Mom’s ability to cope, such as lack of support, no sleep, a difficult birth, and breastfeeding challenges.  Anti-depressants don’t really unravel and solve these issues, although they can help women cope.  Homeopathy can dig deep into this kind of complexity because we look at the whole picture of what happened at the birth, the mother’s history, and the current situation with mom and baby.  This kind of individualized treatment will help heal the wounds, cope with challenges and resolve the issues, even if they began a long time before the birth.

Homeopathy for Baby and Breastfeeding

I often prescribe medicines for the mom and the baby at the same time, especially if there was a traumatic birth. After baby has been seen and treated by your family physician,  many babies benefit enormously from homeopathic remedies for minor injuries to the head and neck, bruising, fright, and other effects of birth trauma. Homeopathic medicines can help heal the shock from tongue-tie release and relax tight muscles in the head and jaw. They can help mom with breast pain, blocked ducts, thrush and mastitis.

To give you some idea of how homeopathy can help, here is another birth story: (my patients have given me permission to share):

Kate’s Story

Kate consulted me early in her fourth pregnancy. She had experienced depression since the birth of her third child.  She had had two previous C-Sections and one vaginal delivery, and was planning and hoping for a VBA2C. She had done an amazing job of putting together her plans, hired a Doula, and had gathered a lot of information about her options. She wanted to address her depression, prevent high blood pressure, and prepare for a vaginal birth.  I took a full medical history and prescribed an individualized medicine for her.

Two weeks later she let me know that her depression had lifted completely and she was feeling very well. Several months later she contacted me because the depression had returned; we repeated the remedy and she felt much better in only a few days.  She continued to feel great until week 37, when she experienced a rise in blood pressure, without any symptoms of pre-eclampsia. I prescribed a different remedy specifically for the high blood pressure, and we succeeded in lowering it and maintaining it within acceptable levels.  At 40 weeks and five days, her OB wanted her to be induced, so we used a homeopathic induction regimen first. It helped to dilate her cervix and, and although she did need a minimal induction, her own body’s wisdom took over and she had a short labour and vaginal delivery of her healthy and beautiful 8 lb baby boy!  After an initial period of elation, her chronic depression returned postpartum.  However one dose of the same remedy she had in pregnancy once again restored her mood, and she only needed to repeat it each time she felt blue.

It should come as no surprise that there is no one-size-fits-all remedy for postpartum depression, from a homeopathic perspective. I have treated many women for depression at various stages of life and I have rarely prescribed the same homeopathic medicine twice!  Because of the complexity involved, depression should be treated  individually, by a professional Homeopath rather than trying over-the-counter homeopathic medicines from pharmacies.

 

About Gaela Nelson