Three in ten suffer post natal depression

A new survey from the charity 4Children has found that three in ten new mothers may experience postnatal depression (PND). The figures show that around 33% of mothers who experienced depression symptoms during pregnancy went on to have PND and 25% of mothers still suffered from PND up to a year after giving birth. Worryingly, 70% of those who sought help were given antidepressant medication, predominantly SSRI’s.

The safety of using SSRIs for the babies of nursing mothers is unknown. Some studies have linked the maternal use of Prozac to colic in nursing infants. Women may choose to take antidepressants and not to breastfeed. This not only compromises the baby’s early nutrition, but deprives the mother and child of bonding which can worsen the depression. There is good logic and substantial evidence that optimum nutrition can be a highly effective alternative to SSRIs. Common nutritional imbalances connected to depression are blood sugar imbalances, lack of chromium, amino acids, B vitamins and essential fats. The solution is a low-GL diet, high in omega 3 fats. It’s important to realise that your baby is the number one priority by your body when you are pregnant, and also during breastfeeding. This means that any nutrients it requires it takes from you. If you do not take precautions, the likelihood is that you’ll be deficient in some key nutrients by the end of pregnancy. Low levels of certain nutrients, such as omega 3 fats, magnesium and zinc, have all been linked to PND. Progesterone deficiency is also a common cause. Totally Nourish offer specially formulated before and after pregnancy products to ensure you keep yourself and your baby healthy. My book Optimum Nutrition Before, During and After Pregnancy gives more detail on how to avoid PND and what to do if you already have it. There is also a section on how hormone imbalances can lead to PND in my new book Balance Your Hormones.