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The Dark Side of Childbirth: When Motherhood Causes Depression

Postpartum depression isn’t something a lot of people talk about these days, but it is something worthy of consideration, as it affects a significant number of new mothers, according to Channel NewsAsia. Many factors can contribute to this condition, from being overwhelmed with too much to do between work obligations and being a mom, to marital discord and other emotional problems.

Although the featured article was targeting Asian mothers, depression is now the No. 1 cause of illness and disability worldwide, so the concerns are apropos. According to the World Health Organization, a majority of people with depression suffer in silence or do not get adequate care. In high-income countries such as the U.S., an estimated 50 percent of depressed individuals do not get treatment. In low-income countries, that ratio is closer to 80 or 90 percent.

Coping with depression during pregnancy is particularly problematic, as this is usually one of the happiest times of a woman’s life. When this happy moment becomes confusing and scary — and sad — many women are suffering a double whammy. Some of the symptoms of depression during pregnancy include insufficient sleep, persistent feelings of sadness, feeling anxious, guilty or worthless, and experiencing low energy or even panic attacks.

While many physicians are quick to prescribe antidepressants for this mood disorder, a drug-free approach may work best. Begin by dramatically decreasing your intake of sugar, grains and processed foods. Get enough vitamin B12 and increase your intake of animal-based omega-3 fats; optimize your vitamin D levels with adequate sun exposure; load up on fermented foods, and get enough moderate exercise and sufficient sleep.
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