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What is Postnatal Depletion and how do you treat it? HolisticHer

What is Postnatal Depletion and how do you treat it?

Growing a baby and giving birth is one of the amazing feats of the incredible female body. But this is by no means easy – it’s hard work and quite literally, it takes a lot out of you!

Postnatal depletion (or postpartum depletion) refers to the combination of physical, hormonal and emotional depletion that a mother can experience after giving birth.

During pregnancy, many vital nutrients are passed from your body onto your growing baby. Your baby will take all of the nutrients from you that it needs to grow, however this may leave you lacking.

During actual childbirth, you lose further nutrients from the loss of blood and fluid, and during breastfeeding you are still giving up nutrients to your baby.

Taking all of this into account, pregnancy and the postpartum period may leave you depleted of key vitamins and minerals if these nutrients aren’t replaced.

Postnatal depletion pops up just as you are recovering from childbirth and attempting to keep up with the new demands of motherhood, often leaving new mothers feeling completely exhausted and overwhelmed.

Common signs of postnatal depletion

One of the most common symptoms of postnatal depletion is fatigue. Yes, new baby and the sleepless nights contribute to this of course, but low levels of micronutrients such as iron, B12 and zinc also have an impact.

Likewise, many women report experiencing baby brain or brain fog, emotional exhaustion, low mood and mental health issues, anxiety, hypervigilance, self-doubt, and hair loss. Most commonly these symptoms are caused by a lack of nutrients as well as imbalances in hormones.

What is Postnatal Depletion and how do you treat it

Which nutrients could I be missing?

As a result of you passing key nutrients to your dear baby, the outcome of this process may leave you with hugely depleted levels of key nutrients. This includes many essential micronutrients needed for all the systems in your body to work optimally, such as: Vitamins A, B6, B12, D, E & K, Iron, Choline, Zinc, Selenium, Omega 3, among others.

Postnatal depletion vs. postnatal depression

Postnatal depletion shouldn’t be confused with postnatal depression. While both conditions arise during the postnatal period, there are a number of key differences to be aware of.

Postnatal depression is a serious mental illness that causes intense feelings of anxiety, sadness and despair.

The two conditions do have some overlapping symptoms, including anxiety, mood swings and an overwhelming feeling, which can make it a little tricky to figure out which one you might be actually dealing with.

If you’re unsure about which condition you might be experiencing then it’s best to seek professional medical advice from your healthcare provider.


How long does postnatal depletion last?

The postnatal period can actually last a long time. In some cases, it can take years to recover from growing and feeding an infant. Given women tend to have more than one child in relatively quick succession, the issue of postnatal depletion is often compounded.

For some women, postnatal depletion lasts much longer and it's possible for the condition to hang around for up to 10 years after giving birth (according to experts).

Typically, mothers begin feeling the first effects of postnatal depletion in the months after giving birth and gradually start feeling better as their nutrition and sleep improves.

How can I help improve postnatal depletion?

Postnatal depletion can be relatively easy to treat with the right tools and information.

Firstly, good nutrition during pregnancy through a balanced diet and taking a prenatal supplement is key. This will support you by helping to keep key levels of vitamins and minerals up, leaving you less likely to face a massive drop after birth.

After birth, take a postnatal vitamin to help your body recover its nutrient stores. A postnatal supplement is usually specifically designed with postnatal depletion in mind. It contains all of the key ingredients that you’re most likely lacking. It helps with your mood, energy levels, and focus, and prevents further postnatal depletion that can occur through breastfeeding.

It's completely normal for a new mother to put all of their energy into looking after her baby. Finding the time for self-care can seem a little unrealistic. While you might not have the time to take a long bath or watch your favourite tv shows, taking care of your basic needs should still be a priority.

Prioritise your sleep – haha, we know it is so much easier said than done – but trying to get enough sleep whenever you can, will help your body recover and repair.

Get outdoors and try light exercise – taking a walk with the baby in the carrier or buggy goes a long way for your energy, your mood, your overall health, and vitamin D levels. Further, learning to relax through techniques like yoga or meditation will help clear your mind and replenish your body.

Ask for help (or hire it) when you need it. Make sure you find people who can help provide a support network, whether that’s a babysitter for the night, grandma for help, or meeting up with a group of new mothers every month.

Becoming a mother is a huge transition — whether it’s your first time or not. Seeking professional help to keep your mental wellbeing is a great option. If you’re not feeling yourself seeking an outside opinion can give you the tools you need while you are replenishing your body.

We’re sending lots of healthy vibes and positive thoughts your way. We hope the tips in this article will help you to rediscover your energy and vitality over time but for now, remember how incredible and selfless you are!

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