It seems like it’s an epidemic, and you hear about Postpartum Depression (PPD) more and more often these days.
Recently, in my Facebook news feed, was a story of a young mother who recently took her own life as a result of PPD. I know a lot of new moms, and it doesn’t have to be that way.
As always, being educated is key. And understanding that ALL health conditions have root causes helps us look beyond a label, shrugging our shoulders, accepting the status quo.
Let’s start with some background. It seems that more and more struggle with health these days. Maybe in small ways, but they add up.
The following indicate a compromised state of health, secondary to nutrient deficiencies, the presence of pathogens, heavy metals, overwhelmed liver, adrenal fatigue, weak digestion, and/or thyroid dysfunction.
- Susceptibility to getting sick
- Thinning hair, splitting nails, vertical ridges in nails, white spots in nails, dents in nails, missing moons from nails
- Weight management issues
- Food sensitivities, re-flux
- SIBO – Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth
- Anxiety and/or Depression
- Cold hands and feet and/or temperature fluctuations
- Eye floaters
- Heart palpitations
- Dry skin
- Restless legs
- Tingling & numbness
- Ringing in the ears
- Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s, Graves, Thyroiditis, lumps, nodules
It’s important to acknowledge each and every one of these as a contributing factor in PPD. These are symptoms, and indicate the foundation of health already has some weak spots. And if you go into a stressful situation already compromised, the end result can only be that the mother is even more depleted as a result.
ADD to this the incredible resources (adrenaline via the adrenal glands) a woman must use during childbirth.
AND the disrupted sleep, and lack of sleep (reduced ability to fend off pathogens and do internal housekeeping duties).
AND then the stress of a new family member. If it’s the first, you are nervous and overwhelmed. If it’s your 2nd or 3rd, you are easily overwhelmed.
It’s an all-to-easy recipe for postpartum depression.
Optimize health BEFORE conception. I’ve worked with many a mom who conceived and delivered, only to find out she passed along her health issues to her young children. Heartbreaking. In all fairness, we can often see the medical issue in generations before her as well. But then they are perpetuated. But a few months spent improving health before conception could have prevented a lot of worry, heartbreak, and medical bills down the road. Not that I mean at all to incite guilt or regret, but if we know better, we can do better right? Rates of autism, asthma, ear infections, and even childhood cancer are all on the rise and it’s not just genetics. If you are thinking of conceiving, I highly recommend we do some Ask Tracy sessions and you spend 6-18 months improving your health before God blesses you with a child.
Include massive adrenal support in postpartum care.
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue can include weakness, lack of energy, trouble concentrating, forgetfulness, trouble completing basic tasks, a hoarse voice, weak digestion, constipation, imbalanced blood sugar (hypo or hyperglycemia) depression, insomnia, not feeling rested after waking from sleep, relying on naps during the day, and if you do fall asleep at night and awaken for some reason, find it difficult or nearly impossible to go back to sleep.
It’s imperative that a postpartum mom eats at least every 1- 2 hours. And those snacks/mini meals need to contain 3 ingredients for the perfect balance:
- Potassium (date, 1/2 avocado, sweet potato, banana)
- A piece of fruit (apple, orange, banana, sweet potato, coconut water, pear, mango, berries)
- Sodium (fresh raw spinach, most any lettuce, celery sticks, lemon water, lime water, mache greens, parsley)
- EX: 1-2 dates, 1/2 apple, 2 celery sticks
Also….Eat This, Not That
- EAT more of these: wild blueberries, fresh & frozen unsweetened fruit, raw spinach greens, avocado, banana’s, dulse flakes, kelp, sprouts, asparagus, and hemp seeds.
- DO NOT EAT: gluten, dairy, corn, eggs, & soy as they are all inflammatory for various reasons. They just add fuel to that simmering fire. I’d also advise not to eat a high fat diet, especially limiting animal fat which just further strains the digestive system with secondary effects on the adrenal glands.
Monitor thyroid health.
Be aware that postpartum moms are high risk for thyroid disorders, including hypothyroidism, nodules, cysts, tumors, thyroiditis, as well as Graves & Hashimoto’s disease post partum. Much of this is due to the heavy demands of childbirth. Again, if you go into a situation already depleted, it’s easy to see how other fragile systems can be drained in the process.
Our thyroid gland is responsible for producing T4 which is converted to T3 – the active thyroid hormone. Our thyroid gland is our commander in chief and plays a large role in energy production. All of the cells in our body need T3 and without it, things don’t work as well. Think of T3 like gas for your car.
While conventional and alternative medicine both treat thyroid disorders with thyroid support (or ablation in the case of Graves Disease), it typically has not addressed the real root cause for thyroid conditions. What has really happened in most any thyroid disorder is that a pathogen has invaded the thyroid organ. They are opportunistic and seized a moment when mom was compromised. The most common pathogen to do this is the Epstein Barr Virus but there are other players, especially when it comes to Graves Disease. There is plenty of research about this in PubMed, yet it still is not considered mainstream medicine. By the way, getting a diagnosis of hypothyroid and going on meds does NOT fix the root cause which is the opportunistic pathogen.
Create your own village!
Another great solution for a postpartum mom is to have a village of friends and relatives around to help. There’s a reason people live(d) in villages and it’s because many hands make light work. Having a baby is a big deal and mom’s need help. If you’re the mom, ask for and accept help. If you’re a friend or family, volunteer! Make her healthy produce-heavy low-fat meals. Bring her fresh green juices. Go to the market for her. Cut up fruit so it’s easy for her to grab. Take a turn with the baby so she can get a few hours of extra sleep.
My suggestion for any postpartum mom is to make the above diet changes, and get some help, but if you are struggling emotionally, know there ARE solutions.
There IS an underlying root cause – or causes – and it can be addressed. You can heal. You don’t have to feel this way. This is not the way God intended it to be.
If your provider isn’t able to offer solutions, please consider doing an Ask Tracy session. I can help you connect the dots and initiate a unique treatment plan that will address root causes. We don’t even need fancy labs. After 18 years in business, intuition, and God’s help…I have faith we can get you feeling better again.
About Tracy Konoske, MS, RDN
Tracy Konoske is an eclectic clinician and uses a blend of natural, integrative, functional, and personalized medicine to help her patients feel their best. Tracy understands that there are 4 drivers of chronic disease: Toxins, Infections, Stress, and Diet. And it's often a combination of all 4 that lead to a chronic health condition, and thus it takes a treatment plan addressing each of the 4 to resolve and reclaim good health. Tracy has recovered from 2 "perfect storm" situations which had drastic effects on her health and led to multiple mystery illnesses and diagnosis including Lyme.
By reducing the burden of these triggers, Tracy is successfully resolving:
- Fatigue (anemia's, adrenals, thyroid-related, chronic fatigue syndrome, ME-CFS)
- Auto Immune Conditions (Hashimoto's, Lupus, MS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Celiac)
- Mental Health Conditions (anxiety, depression, OCD, ADD/ADHD)
- Cognitive Dysfunction (trouble concentrating, forgetfulness, symptoms of early Alzheimer's)
- Digestive Disorders (low hydrochloric acid, "leaky gut", Candida Albicans, Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth SIBO, IBS, Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis)
- Migraines and chronic headaches
If you've one or more of the above-mentioned conditions, or have been told you have Lyme or chronic Lyme, there's a good chance you are in the right place.
If you have a history of chronic sore throats, tonsillitis or tonsillectomy, mononucleosis, glandular fever, shingles, and/or cold sores, there's a good chance you are in the right place.
There are no coincidences. All good things come from God.