Postpartum Depression (PPD)

What is Postpartum Depression (PPD)?

Childbirth takes a huge amount of energy, and after birth, there is a rapid change in body chemistry. It is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed and anxious about the many responsibilities of having a newborn. Symptoms of the “baby blues” include fatigue, crying, insomnia, anger, feelings of being alone, and the inability to concentrate. These symptoms are usually short-lived. However, if you are not feeling better after 2-3 weeks, or if your symptoms get more severe, you may have serious postpartum depression. Please seek medical advice.

What Can I Do?

Herbs: Hormonal imbalances and the rapid drop in progesterone after birth can create feelings of depression.

  • Vitex helps stimulate progesterone production and balance the hormonal cycle.
  • Motherwort and lemon balm can help with mood swings and emotional balance.
  • Scullcap, oats, and chamomile are tonic herbs for nerves and stress.
  • St. John’s wort is also used by nursing mothers.


  • Calcium and magnesium soothe nerves and promote sleep.
  • Get adequate folic acid in your diet.
  • Cut down on coffee and caffeine.

Homeopathy: The following remedies are recommended for PPD: Sepia, Pulsatilla, Ignatia, Natrum mur, and Arsenicum album. Consult a homeopathic doctor to get the correct remedy for your specific symptoms.

Aromatherapy: The smell of clary sage, sandalwood, and citrus uplifts the spirits, so use these essences in a massage oil, bath, or sleep pillow. Put drops on a handkerchief to sniff throughout the day. Aromatherapy inhalers and spritzers are available at natural food stores.

Bach Flower Essences:

  • Gorse: for discouragement and despondency.
  • Mustard: for deep gloom for no reason.
  • Sweet Chestnut: for mental anguish, hopeless despair, sorrow, exhaustion, loneliness.

Other Suggestions

  • Meditation: follow your breath, focus on an uplifting word or phrase.
  • Visualization: visualize “what brings me joy,” or your radiant face, with a sparkle in your eyes and joy in your smile.
  • Start doing simple exercises to get movement flowing through you.
  • Get help with housework, cooking, and other small children.
  • Talk with close friends, or get professional help from a counselor.

Where can I find more information?

For further reading we suggest, A Natural Guide to Pregnancy and Postpartum Health, Dean Raffelock, D.C., Dipl.Ac., CCN, Robert Rountree, M.D., and Virginia Hopkins and Melissa Block.

Also see the books listed on our Resources Page under the category of “Women’s Health and Pregnancy.”

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