Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that is important for mental health.
This vitamin aids in the production of serotonin, the brain hormone associated with mood elevation and happiness. An adequate level of serotonin helps prevent and treat postpartum depression.
During pregnancy, with the demands placed on the body by the fetus, there is increased risk for vitamin D deficiency.
A 2010 study published in the Journal of the American Psychiatry Nurses Association shows a significant relationship over time between low 25(OH)D levels (a measurement of vitamin D) and high Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale scores, indicative of postpartum depression.
Foods Rich in Omega-3s
Omega-3 fatty acids are vital nutrients for a number of cell functions.
These fatty acids are a key component in cell membranes, which aid the proper functioning of serotonin. Serotonin is important for carrying messages to the brain cells to maintain a positive mood.
Omega-3 fatty acids also play a key role in the development and functioning of the central nervous system.
eat omega-3 foods
A 2011 study published in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth reports that eating fatty fish or other foods rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy may help lower the risk of developing symptoms commonly seen in postpartum depression.
A 2014 study published in Behavioral Brain Research suggests that fish oil, rich in omega-3, exerts beneficial effect on postpartum depression and decreases the biomarkers related to depression, such as corticosterone and pro-inflammatory cytokines.
To ensure an adequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids, eat more flaxseeds, fatty fish like salmon, walnuts and omega-3 fortified eggs. You can also take an omega-3 fatty acid supplement, after consulting your doctor.
New moms diagnosed with postpartum depression need a secure emotional attachment with their newborns. The infants also need this secure attachment with their mothers. This nonverbal emotional bond aids in releasing endorphins that make mothers feel happier and more confident as a mom.
To build this strong emotional bond, breastfeeding is the best option. However, mothers with postpartum depression may be less likely to breastfeed. So, it becomes important for the partner or other family members to help new moms understand the importance of breastfeeding.
A 2012 study published in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine indicates that women who breastfeed their infants reduce their risk of developing postpartum depression, with effects being maintained over the first four months postpartum. Postpartum depression may also decrease the rate of breastfeeding, suggesting a reciprocal relationship between these variables.
A recent 2016 study published in CMAJ Open reports that quality of breastfeeding support is important not only for breastfeeding promotion but also for maternal mental health. Educating front-line caregivers to ensure that breastfeeding women experience positive support can red
In talk therapy, a mental health professional (a counselor, therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist or social worker) talks with the woman suffering from postpartum depression on a one-to-one basis.
This allows the new mom to share all her fears and emotions in confidence with someone outside her circle of family and friends. Through the therapy, the new mother becomes ready to accept the new responsibility of motherhood in a much better way.
Two types of counseling are found to be very effective in treating postpartum depression. These are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT).
CBT helps people recognize and change negative thoughts and behaviors. This talk therapy is based on the premise that both perceptions and behaviors are intimately linked to mood.
On the other hand, IPT helps people understand and work through problematic personal relationships. This time-limited therapy focuses mainly on addressing the person’s interpersonal connections.
In both these therapies, treatment usually lasts three to four months.