Protection against post natal depression
It is very normal to have feelings of anxiety, frustration, sadness and extreme tiredness after the birth of a baby. A woman has grown an entire human being from start to finish, given birth, and had to adjust to a whole new way of life. Part of western culture sees pressure being put upon women to ‘bounce back’ and have the whole community over for tea once the baby arrives home. Other cultures see women protected and waited upon hand and foot, so she can spend precious time getting to know her baby and recover after birth. It would be nice to find a balance between these two traditions, where mothers can rest and take things day by day in their own time, free of the pressures of modern day society.
Post partum blues, catagorised as feelings of sadness, exhaustion, loss of appetite, and a sense of inadequacy, affects between 30 and 75% of all mothers, and can start anytime from a few hours after birth to a whole year. This very normal response generally lasts from between a couple of days to a couple of weeks. If symptoms persist for longer, and interrupt everyday activities, it is advised to see a GP.
The cause of postpartum depression is multifactorial but we can be sure that nutrition plays a part. Optimum nutrition throughout and after pregnancy is essential to help prevent any postpartum depression.
Dietary omega-3 fatty acids play a role in the prevention of some disorders including depression as do B vitamins, Chromium , Iodine, Iron, Selenium, Zinc. See your Vitamins and Minerals poster for good sources of these.