Have you found yourself crying frequently with no real understanding of why?
Not understanding why you aren’t more excited to be a new mom?
Are you experiencing anxiety and fear or excessive worry about your baby? Do you have racing thoughts, difficulty with getting sleep, or panic?
Do you feel irritable, guilty, and angry about your inability to engage with your baby?
Is your partner, spouse, or loved ones worried about your sadness or anxiety?
You may be experiencing symptoms of a postpartum mood disorder or postpartum anxiety.
You are not alone.
Postpartum mood disorders are common and there are treatments to help you through this challenging time and help you engage and enjoy your new baby.
For new mothers (and mothers in general), there is an enormous amount of pressure to “be a great caretaker and a loving mother & partner”, while not complaining about the enormous physical toll and emotional changes we experience after giving birth.
More serious forms of postpartum mood changes can be detrimental to the health of a new mom, as well as her baby.
Engaging in care with a medical provider and possibly a mental health therapist can help a new mom through this challenging transition.
Three types of postpartum mood disorders:
50-70% of women will experience unexplained episodes of prolonged crying, sadness, and anxiety which seemingly have no causes. This can begin shortly after delivery and only lasts up to two weeks.
Symptoms usually resolve quickly and can be managed with support from partners and loved ones.
10-20% of women will experience more severe symptoms of prolonged crying, sadness, irritability, mood lability, and guilt that make it difficult to care for themselves or their baby.
This lasts much longer than baby blues and can appear up to one year after delivery.
This very rare condition affects 1 out of 1,000 deliveries and requires immediate medical attention and often hospitalization.
Women experience the onset of symptoms quite quickly after delivery and can include agitation, confusion, paranoid thoughts, hallucinations, or manic symptoms.
Postpartum psychosis can be life-threatening, to mom and baby and must be addressed immediately by specialists, usually in an in-patient setting.
10-20% of women experience anxiety that is consuming. Excessive worrying about the safety of the baby, inability to sleep, or having irrational thoughts or fears about the events that may cause danger to the baby are common.
Women may experience a racing heart, abdominal pain and loss of appetite, muscle tension, and inability to leave the baby alone with anyone.
Physical changes in the body, especially hormones, and overwhelming new emotions, as well as changes in the family structure, and stressors like caring for other children, work, or finances, can combine to create significant changes in mood and anxiety.
Medications can be very helpful for relieving these symptoms for women who have delivered babies, as well as individuals who have adopted a baby and are experiencing these challenging emotions and physical symptoms.
Optimizing a woman's hormone balance using low doses of progesterone, which drops rapidly after the delivery of a baby can be helpful.
Behavioral health therapy can support medical treatment of these conditions, and integrative therapies like lifestyle changes, nutraceuticals, and acupuncture can provide the support necessary for women to engage with their new babies and experience the joy of becoming a parent.
In a conventional allopathic system, postpartum mood and anxiety symptoms are often treated by busy obstetricians or primary care providers who may not have experience with hormone balance or integrative behavioral health modalities.
Not infrequently women are simply prescribed medications that may cause uncomfortable side effects without addressing the symptoms.
Women are often prescribed benzodiazepines like Valium, Klonopin, or Xanax for postpartum anxiety and insomnia.
These medications can quickly create tolerance and withdrawal symptoms and can be very difficult to stop taking. They can even cause use disorders (addiction).
Talk therapy can be very helpful for some women, but used alone may not be sufficient.
Often the challenges of postpartum depression or anxiety can be the start of ongoing behavioral health concerns, which can be complicated by ongoing medication trials resulting in medication side effects that then must be addressed.
These side effects can include emotional numbing, sexual side effects, and weight concerns that further complicate healing.
Addressing the root cause of postpartum depression and anxiety, including hormone imbalances, nutrition, sleep behaviors, movement, and stress management can significantly improve symptoms and allow women to fully engage in their relationship with their new baby and their family.
Integrative behavioral health is the approach I am striving to provide for individuals who come to see me.
My clinical training and experience in primary care, addiction medicine, and functional medicine have allowed me to look at behavioral health conditions, including postpartum depression and anxiety, with a much wider lens.
Medications may be utilized, but do not form the foundation of care.
Exploring the root cause of your symptoms, physical and emotional, and empowering patients to heal themselves forms the foundation of care with Heron Wellness.
What is Integrative Behavioral Health? I have been working on this definition for a long time, and after finding a definition of Integrative Health from the California Institute for Integral Studies.
The components of this approach I have developed are based on my training and clinical experiences with patients over the years.
Integrative Behavioral Health
Patient-centered, coordinated, whole-person care with a focus on healing and wellness of body, mind, and spirit.
Allopathic Medicine – Medications as needed for physical and behavioral health conditions. Coordination with specialists as needed.
Evidence-Based Behavioral Health Interventions – Referral and coordination of care with therapists, psychologists, treatment programs
Functional Medicine – Conventional and specialized laboratory testing and evaluation and education and support for implementing positive behavioral changes related to the 5 MODIFIABLE LIFESTYLE FACTORS - NUTRITION, MOVEMENT, SLEEP, STRESS MANAGEMENT, SOCIAL CONNECTIVITY
Hormone Optimization – Focusing on addressing imbalances in cortisol (fight or flight), thyroid, and sex hormones
Complementary Modalities – 5- Needle-Protocol (ear acupuncture), mindfulness, nutraceuticals and botanicals. Coordination with physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, therapeutic yoga, energy work
Traditional Healing Practices – Referral and coordination of care with healers in the community
For individuals suffering from postpartum depression and anxiety, we will work together to address your symptoms quickly and efficiently.
Sometimes we will need to use medications to address symptoms, especially if they are more severe, and limit our ability to care for ourselves and our baby.
Sometimes we can use hormone optimization, in the form of low doses of PROGESTERONE, to help manage symptoms alone or in combination with other medications.
If symptoms warrant I will help to coordinate care quickly with a behavioral health therapist.
Simple, accessible lifestyle changes can help significantly in the post-partum period.
This involves helping you make nutritional choices that support healing, especially if you are breast-feeding.
Supporting nutrition with supplements can be critical in this period, and will be determined using laboratory testing if needed.
Sleep may seem completely allusive during this period of time, however, there are some simple behavioral and nutraceutical interventions that can help you sleep when you are able.
Empowering you to ask your partner or family for support with sleep is imperative.
Gentle movement, especially walking outside can be incredibly healing for both your body and your mind, and helping you find the energy and motivation to engage in moving your body will be a high priority.
Lastly, learning some new techniques to help calm your mind will provide you with much-needed relief.
An integrative behavioral health approach to postpartum depression and anxiety reduces reliance on medication management.
This will allow for true healing of your body and your mind during this time of immense change and new challenges.
If you are interested in approaching Hormonal changes, Behavioral Issues, and Wellness with an Integrative Approach, please reach out to Schedule a Discovery Call.
Do You Have Questions About Starting Your Path To Wellness?
Reach out to me using the QR code or the button below to Schedule a Consultative Call.
What's Functional Medicine
Substance Use Disorder
Behavioral Health Conditions
Menstrual Related Mood Conditions
Pospartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders
Perimenopause and Menopause
Hormone Optimization For Women
Hormone Optimization For Men
Chronic Fatigue and Pain Syndromes
Heron Wellness is located in Salt Lake City, Utah and serves patients throughout the Greater Salt Lake City Area and Eastern Utah including Provo, Highland, Cedar Hills, Summit, Park City and Ogden. These areas include but are not limited to the counties of Salt Lake City, Davis, Weber, Morgan, Summit, Wasatch, Utah and Tooele.