How Can Post Natal Depression Be Treated?

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What alternative therapies can be used to help with post natal depression? I know that St.Johns Wort can’t be taken if you’re breast feeding, are there any herbal remedies you can take whilst breast feeding? Any mothers found something that really worked for them? Thank you!

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11 Responses to “How Can Post Natal Depression Be Treated?”

  1. Evening primrose oil seems to help some moms. Other herbs that can be helpful for postpartum depression are motherwort and blessed thistle.
    Some moms find that increasing their activity level and taking B vitamins helps their PPD symptoms.
    Check the hospital where you delivered, they may have a PPD support group as well.
    There *ARE* antidepressents that are considered *SAFE* for nursing mothers to take.
    I wouldn’t consider weaning.
    Breastfeeding is associated with enhanced mental health
    Mezzacappa ES. Breastfeeding and maternal stress response and health (Review). Nutr Rev. 2004 Jul;62(7 Pt 1):261-8.
    This article reviews findings on the maternal stress and health effects of lactation. Several significant associations have emerged. Compared with not breastfeeding, breastfeeding is associated with increased parasympathetic nervous system modulation, greater vascular stress response, lower perceived stress levels, and fewer depressive symptoms. Breastfeeding exclusively is associated with an attenuated initial sympathetic cardiac nervous system response to some laboratory stressors. Bottle-feeding is associated with increased sympathetic and decreased parasympathetic cardiac control. The act of breastfeeding is associated with decreased neuroendocrine response to stressors and decreased negative mood. Finally, breastfeeding is associated with enhanced physical and mental health compared with non-breastfeeding.
    St John’s Wort use during lactation -
    In a study of one nursing mother taking three tablets of St. John’s Wort per day (Klier 2002), the levels of various components of the herb in breastmilk ranged from low to below the detection limits. No side effects were observed in the mother or infant.
    Thomas Hale, RPh, PhD, author of Medications and Mothers’ Milk, says that St. John’s Wort appears to be relatively safe for nursing mothers, but recommends that caution be used. He suggests that other treatments (Zoloft, Paxil) are probably preferred.
    Herbals and Breastfeeding (Nice 2000) says that no known contraindication to breastfeeding exists, but suggests that the nursling be monitored for potential side effects.
    Ruth Lawrence, MD, in Herbs and Breastfeeding says that breastfeeding mothers should not take St. John’s Wort without consulting their physician first.
    Herb expert Tieraona Low Dog, MD, in Herbal Medicine – An Evidence-Based Approach does not list breastfeeding as a contraindication to taking St. John’s Wort.
    A Review of 12 Commonly Used Medicinal Herbs (O’Hara 1998), does not warn against its use during lactation, but says that it should not be used during pregnancy (uterotonic) or with other psychoactive agents. St. John’s Wort can cause photosensitivity, especially in fair-skinned persons taking large doses.

  2. rattle says:

    Brisk exercise is supposed to be as effective as antidepressants for many depressed people, although it can be hard when you are depressed to get yourself out there.
    If you can work up the energy to do it, a brisk walk for 30 to 60 minutes per day can help your body release endorphins, which in turn boosts your mood. Try to push yourself to get together with fun, upbeat friends for lunch, coffee, etc. or just to talk on the phone.
    Also, avoid depressing people, movies, books, television programs, and music. I know it sounds corny, but try to listen to upbeat, happy music throughout the day. Think positive thoughts!
    Good luck!
    PS if you are depressed, you might want to consider cognitive therapy. this can also help people as much as antidepressants and wouldn’t effect your ability to breast feed!

  3. purplepa says:

    Exercise helped me somewhat. But in the end, I made a pragmatic decision that it was better to take antidepressants, even though I wasn’t keen to do so while breastfeeding, than have perfect milk and be a crap mum because I was too shut down to interact with my baby. Also, the way my thoughts were going, better a mum on antidepressants with imperfect milk than no mum around at all….
    I went on to breastfeed for 18 months and some 5 years later we’re both doing well.

  4. Elle J Morgan says:

    Getting the mental space to be me

  5. Sarah says:

    God you’ve had some really crap answers here haven’t you??
    From men (?????????????) and some women who clearly haven’t a clue – “squeeze it out of your life” ?????????????
    If you know nothing about a subject then why bother to try and answer it????
    Anyway, sorry, just had to get that out of my system!!
    I’ve got two wonderful boys – 3yrs old and 5 yrs old. My Health Visitor diagnosed PND when my first was about 8 months – that’s how long I’d managed to cover it up without even realising it!! I was on pills for about 8 months then discovered I was pregnant again – I was then diagnosed with ante-natal depression!! No idea that even existed!
    Anyway to cut a long story short and to try to answer your question, I would have a word with your local pharmacist – they know a lot more about medicines (inc herbal) than doctors. I was actually given a very weak antidepressant and allowed to feed my second son too. I came off them shortly after his birth though because my depression seemed to lift after his birth.
    (My husband also left too which, after the intial shock and despair, gave way to such relief and happiness …. but that’s another story!)

  6. one_gian says:

    Get yourself really involved with the baby, tidy house, take baby out for walks, play with them, just get really busy, and you’ll find you have no time for postnatal depression! Squeeze it out of your life :)

  7. robbief1 says:

    By not getting pregnant.

  8. david429 says:

    Post-natal depression is a depressive illness in a woman following soon after she has given birth – although recent research suggests that women are more likely to become depressed while pregnant than after their babies are born. Most post-natal depression needs to be assessed by a healthcare professional as, if untreated, it may have effects on both mother and baby.
    The term ‘baby blues’ is often used to describe a mild, short period of mild depression which many women experience after giving birth. Women may feel emotional and irrational, burst into tears for no apparent reason, feel irritable or feel depressed and anxious. These symptoms are not uncommon and usually only last for a few days. They may be due to sudden hormone and chemical changes which happen in you body after giving birth. However, up to 10 per cent of new mothers go on to develop full-blown postnatal depression (PND) yet many put up with the symptoms without seeking help. Many mothers do not recognise the condition or realise that there is treatment available.
    Postnatal depression usually begins two to eight weeks after delivery. Sometimes the symptoms of baby blues do not go away or can appear some time after the birth of the baby. Feelings such as tiredness, irritability or poor appetite are normal if you have just had a baby, but usually these are mild and do not stop you living your life. With postnatal depression you may feel increasingly low and despondent and looking after yourself or the baby may become too much. Some other signs of postnatal depression are:
    panic attacks
    aches and pains or feeling unwell
    memory loss or unable to concentrate
    can’t stop crying
    feelings of hopelessness
    loss of interest in the baby
    To find out more about the causes, symptoms and treatment of post-natal depression contact the Association for Post-Natal Illness’ helpline on: 020 7386 0868 or visit their website at

  9. YORKSHIR says:

    Prevention is better than cure. Try contraception.

  10. toaster says:

    I knew a lady who had such bad post natal depression, it was deemed to be puerperal psychosis. As she needed to be hospitalized for the condition, with her next pregnancy she went to a registered homeopath both before and after the birth, took the remedies and had no problems at all.

  11. farmersd says:

    You need to talk to the dr. If it’s that bad, then you might consider other meds…getting help for your depression might me be more important for your baby than your breast feeding. Good luck and take care.

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