Six Supplements to Consider for Postpartum Depression

Six Supplements to Consider for Postpartum Depression

Published by Wonder Laboratories on Jan 16th 2024

A portion of new mothers will experience postpartum depression, a distinct and sometime difficult phase of depression related to pregnancy and childbirth. Here, we look at the ramifications of postpartum depression and discuss six nutrients which can help mitigate the course and drawbacks of postpartum depression

What Is Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression (PPD), or perinatal depression, occurs in some women during pregnancy and after giving birth. It is a serious medical illness, characterized by feelings of extreme sadness, indifference, anxiety, and disruptions in sleep, appetite, and energy levels. Other symptoms include a pattern of restless physical activity, negative feelings (e.g., shame), and suicidal ideation.

PPD can affect the relationship between mother and newborn, because the mother’s thinking and behavior are compromised. The condition is distinctly different from the more common “baby blues,” because it can be emotionally and physically debilitating, and in some women it can last for many months.

About one in seven women will experience postpartum depression at some time during their lives. There are a variety of risk factors which can contribute to PPD. They include a history of anxiety and/or depression, negative attitude toward the baby or their gender, a risky or difficult pregnancy, and a lack of social & familial support, among others.

Some women will greatly benefit from seeing an OBGYN and receiving necessary treatment with psychotherapy or medication. All mothers will benefit from consistent social support, good nutrition habits, and exercise.

Supplements for Postpartum Depression

Nutrients can affect the brain and body in ways that could reduce postpartum depression and its effects. Following are six supplements with physiological benefits that could combat postpartum depression:

Omega-3 fatty acids: Supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids can replace the body’s stores of this substance, which tend to become low during and after pregnancy, due to changes in the body. Low levels of omega-3s are associated with depression.

Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to correlate with postpartum depression. Correcting this deficiency in a new mother can help relieve depression. A few thousand IUs (5,000 is standard for OTC vitamin D) taken daily can help relieve postpartum depression, especially in the winter months.

Vitamin B6 supplementation has been studied for its potential to mitigate PPD in women who are at risk for PPD. A 2021 study concluded that taking vitamin B9 did reduce postpartum depression scores in women. B9 is helpful because it promotes the production of serotonin.

Folic acid (vitamin B9) supplementation could help reduce the effects of depression. Folic acid benefits the body, and it also supports the effectiveness of depression medications such as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors).

L-theanine is an amino acid extracted from green tea which has mild relaxant properties. Taking l-theanine can help reduce anxiety and promote resilience in response to stress. L-theanine also increases the hormone GABA, which promotes feelings of sleepiness and calm.

Phosphatidylserine can benefit the nervous system, and help mitigate anxiety and depression, as well as feelings of brain fog. It does so because it contributes to the health of nervous cells in the brain and throughout the body.

If you or a loved one have postpartum depression, or are at risk for it, then you should consider how these nutrient supplements could be of help. Some of these can interact with certain medications, so any mother should talk to her healthcare provider before taking one of these.

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