Health Supplements For Post-Natal Depression

October 30, 2017

Post-natal depression is caused due to a rapid drop of hormones post-pregnancy. The hormones that were created in the body to sustain pregnancy fall off after the baby is delivered, and other hormones start being produced to help the body recover. Breastfeeding causes a certain level of hormones to fluctuate, and the rapid changes can cause sleep disruption, emotional disturbances and adjustment problems.


Caring for a newborn can be a shock, particularly for first time parents. Having support in the home can be a major benefit to parents of a newborn, be this through parents, relatives or paid support. Getting as much sleep as possible, focusing on good nutrition, obtaining emotional comfort and support, gentle exercise and self-care will help prevent or alleviate post-natal depression.


Risks of Post-Natal Depression

  • Previous history of depression
  • Family members with depression
  • Stressful events that have occurred in the previous 12 months
  • Unplanned pregnancy
  • Financial difficulties
  • Difficulties with breastfeeding
  • Lack of support system
  • Baby with health issues or special needs
  • Relationship difficulties


Symptoms of Post-Natal Depression

The symptoms of post-natal depression are being in a low-mood or teary for most of the time; having feelings of shame, worthlessness, thoughts of self harm and feeling angry and irritable. Other symptoms include fear of being alone, fear of being alone with the baby, loss of interest in the things previously enjoyed, and having difficulty with self-care. There may be low energy levels, feelings of fatigue, changes in appetite such as lack of appetite or overeating. Changes in sleep patterns such as insomnia or oversleeping can also indicate post-natal depression.


Self Care and Supplements with Post-Natal Depression


Health supplements can help promote well being and ease the symptoms of post-natal depression. Supplements have been studied in clinical trials and the results have indicated that there may be a correlation for relieving the symptoms of depression for people in at-risk populations. A lack of proper nutrition, both macronutrient and micronutrient depletion from pregnancy and breastfeeding can lead to further risk of developing post-natal depression.


Supplements can aid in helping to prevent and relieve post-natal depression. These can include:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Iron
  • Folate
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium
  • Pyridoxine
  • Riboflavin
  • Cobalamin
  • S-adenosyl-L-methionine


Health supplements are generally only of benefit when the diet is lacking in proper nutrition, so that the taking of supplements is meant to augment and assist when a lifestyle is incredibly busy and demanding. Taking care of a newborn is demanding, and preparing meals and ensuring that a parent eats a balanced and proper diet whilst caring for an infant can be difficulty, so supplements are highly beneficial. They help the body stay healthy and form a type of nutritional insurance.


Fatty acids help provide nutrition for the skin, nervous system and the brain, helping to maintain the protective fatty acid coating around the neurons. Additional supplements help keep the metabolism well adjusted in the cellular mitochondria and energy delivery systems, promoting optimum health during the stressful time of raising a newborn.


Vitamins for Post-Natal Depression

The most important nutrients to help alleviate post-natal depression are folate, iron and B vitamins. These supplements have been linked to improving symptoms, particularly for people in at-risk populations. Folate, iron and B vitamins help facilitate improved oxygen uptake and cellular metabolism.


Antioxidants and Post-Natal Depression

Excessive stress has been shown to create a depletion of antioxidants, and stress can cause depression and anxiety. Antioxidants form a protective barrier against stress oxidation and reduce inflammation in the body. When inflammation is reduced, the symptoms of depression are reduced. Oxidative stress can cause a large number of health problems, and this includes depression, myocardial infarction, leukemia and schizophrenia.


Magnesium to Assist with Post-Natal Depression

Magnesium is an essential NMDA receptor modulator, which is a brain chemical port that regulates the actions of the excitatory neurotransmitter, glutamate. It is also critical to assist in the creation of the cellular energy molecule, ATP. Magnesium is important in the manufacture of a lot of necessary chemicals in the body, and a low level of magnesium can contribute to the development of depression and other post-natal symptoms.


Magnesium can be seriously depleted in phases of stress, and having a new baby can cause significant amounts of stress in the body. This contributes to a spiralling effect of ill health, so supplementation with magnesium during any periods of stress is recommended to help alleviate anxiety and feelings of listlessness.


St John’s Wort and Post Natal Depression

St John’s Wort has long been recognised as a herbal remedy for depression symptoms. A study that combined supplementation of fatty acids with St Johns Wort indicated that postnatal depression was eradicated as a result of these supplements.


Health supplements, such as St Johns Wort, fatty acids and general micronutrient supplements are generally well tolerated by people and have less adverse effects on people than prescription antidepressants. Other supplements include SAMe, and general multivitamins and antioxidants.


There are other complementary therapies that can assist in eradicating post-natal depression symptoms, and these include acupuncture, talk therapy, light exercise and prescription medication.

More Self-Care Tips

Ensure that you sleep when your baby sleeps, keep your regular medical checkup schedule, and when you see the doctor, ensure that you discuss any concerns about your own mental health with your doctor. Your doctor can order pathology tests and diagnose any nutritional deficiencies, and assist in choosing healthy and safe nutritional supplements.


Sunlight every day is important to keep up levels of vitamin D, and having a certain amount of rest is extremely important. Breastfeeding and caring for an infant is a very demanding role, and self-care is imperative. A partner who is supportive is extremely beneficial, as is having an integrated support network. For this reason, some mother’s join playgroups or new mothers groups, and or breastfeeding support groups.


Socialising offers an outlet for a mother with a new baby, and gives opportunity for social interaction and receiving encouragement and support. Depression can take its toll on the mental health of the child if it is not dealt with, and so it is extremely important to ensure that if you have any symptoms listed above that you go and speak to a maternal and child health nurse, or your general practitioner who can advise you as to how to best deal with it.