Natural Cures for Postpartum Depression?

Updated on January 27, 2011
K.G. asks from Saint Charles, IL
29 answers

My counselor suggested that I take medication for postpartum depression. I really do not like taking drugs unless it's absolutely necessary. Have any of you had any success with a more natural way to cure PPD? What has helped you the most? Or do you think that medication is better? Thanks in advance for your advice!

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W.M.

answers from Chicago on

A friend of mine had ppd and she didn't want to take any meds either so her doctor told her to EXERCISE. It is so simple, but she says taking that time for herself worked like a miracle, and she felt so much better. It's a great stress release, and you'll have more energy. Good luck!

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S.T.

answers from Chicago on

At my 2nd daughter's 6 week appt. the pediatrician suggested that I had postpartum. She was absolutely right! I didn't want to do drugs. So, I took her advice and just started talking to my family, all the time, about my feelings. I typically like to play the superwoman role. However, I needed my husband to take care of me. That was strange, but I had to let other people help, take into consideration to what they saw in me, and listen to how my body felt. I don't know for how many people this works. Several of my friends went the route of drugs. They have found it difficult and scarry to stop-even 2 years after their babies were born. Good luck!

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D.D.

answers from Peoria on

Hello

I hate taking medication. I won't even take meds if I have a headache. I found a product made from mangosteen juice. It has helped with a lot of things, but the two things it has helped the most have been with my headaches and my depression. I don't go into dark places anymore and I truly feel like myself again. If you want more info please let me know.

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K.T.

answers from Chicago on

I can offer suggestions for natural remedies for depression that I use when I feel blue:

aromatherapy: lemon balm, geranium, orange flower, neroli, rose essential oils, (clary sage is especially female hormone balancing)

vitamins, all the B vitamins

omega -3 supplements, and essesntial fatty acid supplements (like borage oil) these are brain boosters

try to cut back on caffeine and drink clear water or teas.

Hope this helps!
K.

1 mom found this helpful
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M.W.

answers from Chicago on

I use Luminex by Melaleuca. It has a patented combination of St. John's Wort, Griffonia Seed, Folate & Vitamin B12. Additionaly, it comes with a 100% money back guarantee.

I'm a Melaleuca Preferred Customer so I purchase at the PC price of $18.99. New PCs get $100 in free products. Let me know if you'd like to become a PC and shop online from their catalog. www.melaleuca.com

M
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1 mom found this helpful
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J.R.

answers from Chicago on

I have had post partum depression 4 times... I tried St. John's Wort and it didn't help me. I take a multi vitamin anyway... that didn't help me. I tried exercise, I didn't see much of an improvement...

I didn't want to be 'dependent' on medication and there was a big stigma with admitting depression and being on medication (my father and my husband both believe that pharmaceuticals in general are some form of government control - seriously paranoid bunch of guys)... i got over it when Paxil worked... my husband hates that I take a little yellow happy pill, but he's seen me without it and agrees that I need it :)

I really tried to fight the whole idea that I had post partum depression... I just thought life sucked with kids and that's how it was.. life was tough and suck it up, right?

post partum depression can escalate if left untreated. If your counselor is suggesting you take medication then it is probably the best course of action for you. I have only needed the help of a medication for about 6 months and then I go off (though don't do this abruptly - it's a long two weeks.. and it's not safe - i had to do this with my 2nd because i lost my health insurance and i couldn't afford my prescription, and my doctor would not give me samples to help me ride thru the storm and do it slowly, in hindsight I realize the risk he took doing this... but i survived the ordeal).

Good luck with whatever you choose... my depression was severe and truly needed the help of pharmeceuticals...

my only warning... be careful what herbs/natural things you put in your body... 'natural' doesn't mean it is free from side effects,... some of them cannot be taken together, and they vary widely in concentration and quality. So do your research... maybe contact a homeopathic doctor who can monitor your progress and give you dosage information and recommend good quality products.

Good luck to you! feel better :)

~J.~

1 mom found this helpful
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S.M.

answers from Chicago on

Omega 3's, b vitamins and a little sunshine. Do you have any moms support groups near you? Getting out for adult conversation is great.

There is a very informed lady on a website at http://www.Indianabirthchoices.com (under the local resource page - postpartum depression section)who has been through it, and spoke at several big events on the topic. Her name is Sarah, her phone number is listed.

Robin

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G.C.

answers from Chicago on

Postpartum depression is no joke, but talking to someone is a great step. Although I don't have a cure, I do represent a product that people have had amazing results with. You can check out the company at Reliv.com or contact me if you have any questions [email protected]____.com remember to keep talking about it so that you don't become overwhelmed. You don't have to medicate! I would love to be of assistance to you, good luck, G. Chambers

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J.U.

answers from Chicago on

Natural cures weren't enough for my PPD, either. My OB/Gyn prescribed Sarafem, which allowed me to get out of bed & face the day, but not feel "medicated"; Though the same medicine as Prozac, Sarafem is marketed to treat PMS, and I never realized how much PMS impacted my life until I experienced life without it! It has really helped me.

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P.H.

answers from Chicago on

K., Are you breast feeding? Be very careful what you put into your body. take "PLUS" it is a mexican yam that is food for your endocrine system. P. RN

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T.V.

answers from Chicago on

Hi K., there are a number of homepathic remedies for depression. Do you have a nutural foods store near you, or a whole foods market? Some family owned pharmacies carry these too. Usually you can find homeopathy stuff there. Here are a few that are good to try, they are pretty cheap too.

Ignatia (lots of sobbing)
Pulsatilla (openly emotional)
Staphysagria (depressed and anger feelings)
Natrum murlaticum (rarely cry, but sad)

The feelings or symptoms is how you can find the right remedy, but you can combine all or a few. There are mimnimal to no side effects and usually after a few days of treatment you can stop taking the remedy. The average dosing is 4 tabs under tongue four to six times a day. Usually 2 to 4 hours apart. I just did a huge research paper on this and have used it for myself and my family... it is safe for kids too. If these do not work, research on the internet, there is a huge amount of info available. Only use .org, .gov or .edu sites for legit info. if you would like, I can send you a copy of my paper, for more info. Let me know, I can email to you.

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L.E.

answers from Chicago on

Honestly, ALL of my mom friends who had at least some level of PPD avoided medication by simply getting away every week on their own for awhile. It can be hard if you're nursing/pumping, but if you can, leave the baby w/ your husband in the evening and get out alone and do something relaxing and enjoyable. Don't come home until you know the baby is down (which means if you're nursing you'll have to have a bottle ready for dad).

My fave thing to do when I get away is drive the car I usually don't drive - just to not feel like my "mom" self. I go to Barnes and Noble, get a Starbucks and maybe a pastry, find a good book and sit down in a comfy chair and read. And when I get home, our girls are asleep and my house is relaxed. Sometimes I even hold out getting groceries until I know I'll be out one night. After my husband gets home and our girls are down for the night I (again, taking the car I don't normally drive) go to Jewel and do a big grocery-shop all alone. I LOVE it! I'm productive, but w/out the kids.

Try to connect to something you loved before you had a baby. Or start working out if you can. Even a short run before your husband leaves for work could help. But, talk to your counselor about it as none of us here know your personal situation.

GOOD LUCK!

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S.T.

answers from Chicago on

I tried so many natural cures, but had minimal luck with all. Sitting in the sun, even by a window seemed to help the most as far as natural cures go. I finally gave in and started Zoloft. I can't even describe how much better my life is now. I have become the mother I have wanted to be and the wife my husband deserves. It is hard getting past the idea of meds. but once you do you have a feeling of control in your life and for the first time in a long time I can smile and say I am truly happy.

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N.T.

answers from Chicago on

fish oil supplements and eating fish a dew times a week

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C.C.

answers from Chicago on

Hi K.,
Are you doing any exercise? This is a way to get endorphins which may result in some positive feelings. There are many different things - walking, going to a gym, swimming, taking yoga classes through your local park district. At our local shopping mall there are Moms who meet with strollers in the morning for exercise. (My kids are older so I am not in this group.)

I am personally a strong supporter for counseling and want to acknowledge that postpartum can be a time for many changes in hormones and emotions. It is not bad or wrong to have medication but there are some additional things that you can do to boost your emotions besides having the counseling and the medication.

I have personally had a member of my household who benefited enormously from having one year of medication while having counseling etc (not a postpartum situation).

I have been postpartum three times and I teach a pre/post natal yoga class at a local fitness center so I personally get feedback every week from Moms having mood swings.

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A.W.

answers from Chicago on

Here's what helped me:
-Going out by myself, even if it meant going to pick up dinner at McDonald's. Even 15-20 minutes of alone time can do wonders.
-Getting as much sleep as possible. Lack of sleep alone can cause depression. Let the clutter go.
-Talking to other moms for support and friendship.
-The thing that helped me the most, though, was meditation. Sometimes meditation can be as simple as taking a few minutes to sit or lay down and take deep breaths (when you're stressed out, you tend to hyperventilate, so breathe in for four counts and breathe out for four counts). As you breathe in, picture yourself breathing in peace and breathing out negativity (or whatever images/emotions work for you). It really helped calm me down when I started to feel overwhelmed.

Of course, it all depends on the severity of your PPD. By all means, if medication will help, take it. The best thing you can do to take care of your baby is to take care of yourself. Good luck and best wishes!

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C.C.

answers from Chicago on

Hi K.,

I have had problems on and off in my life with depression and I found the most successful thing to help has been exercise and going to church. I started working out which gives you a natural lift from your bodies own chemicals and then relying on God and praying helped even more.
Good luck.
C.

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M.O.

answers from Chicago on

You are right to question the use of medications, especially with the responsibility of caring for an infant. There are lots of "feel good" things you can do to help but I think the most important thing is to ask exactly "why" is your counselor recommending meds? Post Partem Depression can be generic. You need to seriously look at your symptoms and determine the importance of the medication. so called "natural" remediies can also have side effects. If you feel strongly that you need to do something more than the counseling, find out what meds they are looking at and find out the side effects.

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R.R.

answers from Chicago on

Get support! We tend to try to be Superwoman and do everything ourselves without showing any negative emotions. This really takes a toll on us emotionally. Talk with your partner and family about your feelings. Accept help when it's offered or ask for help (gulp!) if it's not offered.
Women who are supported by family members and peers are less likely to suffer from postpartum depression.

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M.C.

answers from Chicago on

It is my opinion that concern over taking meds for depression is misplaced, they are wonderful and you can be your old self again. In the meantime, as you play into this ambiguous fear, you are not responding to your child, husband, etc. in the healthiest way. Ask your doctor, find out how long you might be taking them, this is not for the rest of your life. If you have insurance, the meds will be cheaper than the herbal or natural route. We are different, some bodies react more to drugs than others, some do not respond to natural remedies, some do get better quickly on natural remedies. Are you nursing? Once again you have to ask your doctor, I do know there are herbal rememdies that lift your mood and help your milk supply, etc. But do address your fear of drugs. I have listened to so many stories of ladies putting up with depression because they are afraid of drugs and it pains me. There are so many success stories with the new drugs available. Some fears are based on old medications. If your insurance permits a visit to a psychiatrist, they are the most experienced in prescribing drugs. Finally, do not let your vanity prevent you from getting help, depression is almost as common as the common cold.

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A.L.

answers from Chicago on

I really think you should just take the medication. PPD can spiral out of control very easily. It is best for you child to have a happy and mentally healthy mother. I was on medication for a while and it worked wonders. My brother's wife got PPD and had fantastic results. She was finally able to love her son in a truly whole way, a way she didnt even know she was missing. It wont hurt you, it will help you.

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B.P.

answers from Chicago on

Try getting out of the house. Take your baby for walks to the park, or the around the mall, etc. Or go to the Zoo or a museum. Visit friends and family. That's what I did. Once I got myself going and wasn't 'stuck' in the house all the time I started to feel much better. Good Luck!

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H.S.

answers from Chicago on

Try bio-identical progesterone cream. You can get it from Fruitful Yield or some compounding pharmacists. I use the Emerita brand since I am still bfing. The drop in progesterone is most often the cause of baby blues and then also sometimes PPD. You can also get this compounded. If you are interested in that info IM me. I've been taking pills or using the cream since my daughter was born 19 mths ago and it has helped me a lot! Take care and I wish you the best. There is also a PPD support group at Good Sam hospital (I believe) on Monday nights. Use exercise and sun to boost your mood as well. Also make sure you are taking a good multivitamin. If the depression has just started since your son has started solid food (and you were bfing) then it could be the drop in those hormones too. Just bring him to the breast more even for cuddling or more nursing and that helps to. Those were the words of advice from LLL to me.

Take care,
H.

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K.B.

answers from Chicago on

K.,

I don't like to take medicine unless it is absolutely necessary, but I had PPD right after my son was born. We had some unique circumstances. A week after he was born, my husband lost his job and I was very stressed knowing we were going to have to relocate and sell our house. I was so exhausted b/c this was our first baby and I was overwhelmed since we lived out of town with no family around. My experience with PPD was that I wanted to totally protect my baby. I didn't want anybody to hold him and I didn't want to take him outside for fear that strangers would breathe on him! The first trip to the pediatrician's office was awful--all those kids with germs in the waiting area:-). I didn't even want to go out to get the mail. My doctor put me on Sarafem, which is a version of Prozac and I was very hesitant because I was nursing, but it was safe for that. I stayed on it for about two months and then went off because I was feeling better and things were looking up.

If your counselor suggests it, I would strongly consider it. Your baby and family need you healthy and PPD can make you act very different. I had left the professional world and was always in control and organized and suddenly I wasn't. I know some people want to rely on natural remedies, but sometimes that is not enough and you need it to get over the hump.

I hope this helps!

Kim B.

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T.S.

answers from Chicago on

K.,

I actually own a company that offers the classes for moms at the Mall that a previous mom wrote about. We have many moms who have had to deal with PPD. Many of them have found that the exercise and socializing with other moms helps quite a bit.

As a physiologist, I also agree with the earlier suggestion of the Omega-3 supplementation. When the baby is developing, they suck all of the good fat from us to use for their brains and nervous systems...this continues with breast feeding as well. We need this fat for our brains to function to the best of their ability as well.

Exercise and good nutrition (and supplementation) can also be very beneficial in addition to medication. If you do decide to go the medicinal route it is still very important to have support from others (Central DuPage Hospital has a great postpartum depression group) and to take care of yourself. Just remember that you're not alone and ask for help when you need it!

K.L.

answers from Chicago on

I would get myself some Nordic Naturals Omega 3 fish oil capsules. You want the ones that are primarily DHA. It's also excellant for baby if you are nursing. Also, should you decide to go the antidpressant route, don't worry about it. I would recommend the natural route as well, but if it doesn't work for whatever reason and you need something stronger, it's better for you and baby to do it. Zoloft can be taken while you are nursing. JUST MAKE SURE YOU DON'T STAY ON IT--they say it's not addictive but I have been trying to go off them for years. SHort term is fine, long term, not so much! BLessings!

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J.D.

answers from Rochester on

I realize this is a late response to this question but I felt like I needed to respond anyway.
I actually worked for quite some time in mental health care before having my 2nd child and deciding to become a SAM. With my first child I had a mild case of the, "Baby blues" but nothing out of control. With my second child my husband and I actually believe the symptoms of post partum began a few weeks before my son was born. That sounds weird but my, "Nesting" instinct took on an OCD like quality. After my son was born I began to slowly sink into PPD and then further. I had post partum OCD, paranoia and psychosis. I was suicidal. I never had any thoughts of harming my baby thank God, but a part of me knew I was sick and so I was actually afraid to hold my child when I was alone with him.
Because of the paranoia I believed if I sought help, "They" would take my baby away. I also had some sort of skewed belief that since I had worked in mental health I should be able to fix myself without medication.
My husband finally made me seek help. To be honest because of my background in mental health I was able to talk my way out of being hospitalized immediately. Looking back I can say I should have been hospitalized for my own safety.
Initially I was put on Zoloft. The side effects were awful and within the first week I called my doctor to let her know that the Zoloft actually increased my suicidal thoughts. It made me feel, "Crazy." Considering how ill I was at the time that's something! I couldn't stop shaking and I had racing thoughts.
I was switched to Effexor and I can say with absolute certainty that Effexor saved my life. Within the first week I began to feel better and within a month I felt normal again. I wasn't spending hours on my hands and knees scrubbing our wood floors, (It was a rental house and the floor were painted black so no matter how much I scrubbed the brush and towels came away with black paint residue.) I wasn't afraid to be alone with my child. I could sleep. I wasn't crying all day or prone to spontaneous rants. And I didn't feel like hurting myself. I stayed on the medication for less than a year. When I had my third child I discussed my history with my lactation consultant in the hospital and she advised me to have a prescription for Effexor before I left the hospital. We both talked to my OB together and he started me on the medication while I was still there. I had no post partum mood problems at all and I was so grateful for that.

Since then I've had some issues with situational depression and severe PMS. I tried going back on Effexor but for some reason I experienced side effects that I hadn't before. I've since found some natural ways to stabilize my mood. I highly recomend the book The Mood Cure, by Julia Ross.
I think there is a time and a place for medication. I believe I needed Effexor for post partum and I hope other women will feel free to accept medication assistance and not feel a stigma keeping them from seeking help. While I think natural remedies are great, you do have to be extremely careful, especially while nursing. You should seek professional help, even with natural cures. But post partum is nothing to mess around with and there are medications that do work and are safe for you and the baby.

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H.C.

answers from Chicago on

Hi K.,

I am currently living with ppd myself. I see a therapist once a month, and I also see a psychiatrist in order to receive meds. I started out taking only Welbutrin, but my psych has since weened me off of it and put me on Cymbalta. The bulk of my issue is anxiety. Since I've been taking meds and also using talk therapy, I have seen drastic improvements in my situation. I am also a yoga instructor, so I also use yoga as a form of therapy. My psych is a practitioner of yoga, too, and he has only prescribed me with a low dose of Cymbalta and is encouraging me to rely more on the yoga and the talk therapy. I have heard people say that if you add more Omega 3-6-9 to your diet that it can help tremendously. You can take a supplement, like fish oil or flaxseed oil. Everyone is different, so what works for one may not work for another. Just remember, ppd is not something that has to last forever. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and taking meds in order to get you closer to that light is not necessarily a bad thing. The key thing to remember is a healthy, happy mommy is what's most important for your baby. There is an on-line support group through Yahoo! Health Groups, if you would like to check it out: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/postpartummentalilln...
I've received so much support and helpful advice on this message board. Everyone is very nice and totally supportive. I hope all of this info has helped. Take care of yourself, and if there's anything else I can do to help you, please feel free to contact me via email.

Much love,
H. C

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S.P.

answers from Peoria on

Good morning...you said you don't want to take medication unless absolutely necessary...in my opinion...it IS absolutely necessary for PPD. PPD is a REAL thing (not just "in your head, or being hormonal" like so many people think). It's not something that you're likely to just "get over" on your own. This is the time that you should be enjoying the most with your baby and your family...don't be too proud to take the meds that were created for this VERY serious form of depression. I took Zoloft for about 6 months after my 2nd daughter was born, and then I was fine! I was nervous about it, but I would suggest it to anyone. It was like night and day...I felt 100% better, and I could enjoy my bundle of joy (and my 2 year old as well). Please help yourself! :)

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