Treating Postpartum Depression

With proper treatment of postpartum depression, most women can expect a full recovery. Just how the depression is treated will depend on how much it affects the woman. The sooner the depression is diagnosed, though, the sooner you can begin to receive help. Here are some of the ways your postpartum depression may be treated.

Postpartum Depression and Medications
Antidepressants are one of the most common forms of medical treatments women receive for postpartum depression. However, women that are breastfeeding and have postpartum depression should discuss the use of antidepressants with their doctor. Some medications can find their way into your breast milk and should be avoided.

Psychological counseling is another very common form of therapy for postpartum depression. In this setting, you are able to talk through issues that are troubling you with a trained psychologist. This treatment may be done on its own or in conjunction with antidepressants.

Along the same lines, women are often encouraged to join a postpartum depression support group. Many new mothers find it reassuring to know that other women are experiencing the same feelings as they are. Many women also report feeling much less isolated after meeting and speaking with other women who also suffer from postpartum depression.

Natural Remedies
Postpartum depression does not always have to be treated in the traditional medical fashion. Some women have found alternative therapies to be helpful either on their own or as a complementary therapy to the more traditional forms of treatment.

Your diet is a big contributor to your mood. When you eat mainly junk and processed foods, you tend to have low energy levels and feel much worse about yourself. Eating a diet full of healthy foods, with lot’s of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, will give you the vitamins and minerals you need to feel better about yourself.

Exercise is another natural mood enhancer because feel-good endorphins are released every time you get active. Try to exercise at least three times a week for 30 minutes each time. If you’ve just given birth, though, wait at least six weeks before you get yourself moving.

Some studies have also shown that postpartum depression may be helped by acupuncture. Chinese herbal remedies for postpartum depression may also be affective in easing your symptoms. However, make sure you receive your herbs from a trained naturopathy.

Looking After You
Take advantage of all the social support you can get. If a friend or family asks if there is anything they can do, say yes and give them a chore that needs to be done. Find the time to get out of the house and have lunch with a friend or your partner.

Because a lack of sleep can contribute to postpartum depression, take advantage of the your baby’s nap time and give yourself a nap time, too. Even if you can’t rest, use the time to do something you enjoy, like read or watch a movie, rather than household chores. Don’t forget that your partner, friends or another family member are just as capable of doing these chores and probably won’t mind if you ask them.

Every women strives to be a "supermom" and tries to do everything herself. Unfortunately, the idea of a "supermom" is purely an invention – no woman can live up to this ideal. Therefore, realize you limitations and don’t feel bad about yourself or your parenting skills if you need to ask for help.

In many different cultures throughout the world, raising a child is seen as a family responsibility, not just one person’s job. Remember, it takes a village to raise a child.

For more advice on treating postpartum depression and for more information on other pregnancy-related questions, link to our Pregnancy site.