Maternal Mental Health

postpartum mom baby wellness

Maternal Mental Health

Maternal Mental Health

May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month and I am a strong advocate for maternal health, period. From my own experiences that patients have shared with me over the years, maternal health is often neglected or glazed over in the postpartum period. One six week postpartum visit (maybe two if you’re lucky) where your OBGYN team is looking to see how your incision/tissue is healing and a mental health questionnaire that they may or may not even address is not enough. And moms are often left feeling helpless, frustrated and hopeless.

If you are a mom out there feeling this way, know that there is so much we can do to take control and advocate for our health and I’m here to share it all with you! Maternal mental health and health in general is SO important!

What are some physical health pieces that contribute to mental health?

Pregnancy, delivery, breastfeeding and postpartum recovery can take a lot out of a mom, literally. I see so many postpartum nutritional deficiencies and insufficiencies and these can contribute to mental AND physical health manifestations!

The most common nutrient insufficiencies that I see postpartum that contribute to maternal mental health disorders include:

  • Vitamin D
  • Magnesium
  • B vitamins
  • Iron
  • Omega 3s
  • Zinc (and this is often drive by copper excess) 

Now this doesn’t mean you should go out and take all of these supplements because not everyone needs all of these but generally speaking, continuing your prenatal is probably not enough. Testing can be really helpful to guide these decisions and restoring balance. If we do find nutritional insufficiencies, it can take time to restore these nutrients and this may be the time to utilize an SSRI as a short term bridge to improve mental health while working on all of the foundational health pieces. Depression and anxiety are not SSRI deficiency and anyone who is telling you that medication alone without any mention of the benefits of therapy and how our physical health affects mental health is not looking at the full picture.

Lifestyle can make a huge difference!

When it comes to optimal health, many people may think you need fancy protocols and tons of supplements, that is not always the case. As with most health issues, maternal mental health requires that we go back to the basics and focus on the foundations of health:

    • Nutrition
    • Hydration
    • Sleep and relaxation
    • Exercise and movement
    • Stress management 
    • Support and Connection (Therapy and care with a Perinatal Mental Health Specialist is a pivotal piece to maternal mental health!)

Why see a functional medicine provider in the postpartum period?

If you are not feeling totally like yourself – whether that is anxiety, low mood, fatigue or finding yourself wondering if this is just the “new normal.” I’m here to tell you, there is SO much we can do. Functional medicine is uniquely suited to care for mom and connect the dots as to why a mom might be feeling certain symptoms or dysfunctions at any point in the postpartum period, from weeks postpartum to a decade postpartum. We know that pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and keeping up with all of the demands of motherhood are all very taxing on a moms body so why wouldn’t we be diving deep to assess for areas of deficiency and dysfunction to get mom back to feeling optimal? Functional medicine takes a root cause approach – not a pill for every ill or bandaid approach to covering up symptoms.

A functional approach looks like mom’s needs being heard and supported, not being brushed off. A functional approach to maternal health looks like mom putting herself and her needs first so that she can feel good in and enjoy motherhood. A functional approach to postpartum health means caring for mom so that she can care for her family. I have written many blogs on postpartum health and you can find these all HERE to learn even more!

If you are a mom and located in Colorado, I am here as your partner in health, wherever you may be in your postpartum journey, to get you back to feeling well. If you are looking for support in your postpartum journey, book a free 15 minute consultation below! A happy, healthy motherhood is waiting!