About this Episode
Pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood in general can be both incredibly magical and overwhelmingly exhausting. Pregnancy and the postpartum period can invoke a whole range of mental and physiological challenges associated with balancing newborn care (and potentially other children as well) with work, social lives, and personal time. In this podcast episode, naturopathic clinician Angela Hywood joins our host Sara Le Brun-Blashka, MS, to talk about post-natal depletion, including the herbs and nutrients to prevent and address the symptoms all-too familiar to women with children.
Nutritionally devoid foods, a host of environmental pollutants, and the hectic pace of our modern lifestyle often finds women in a less-than-optimal state if not before pregnancy, then often during and after childbirth. Angela describes “post-natal depletion” as the “persistent feeling of exhaustion stemming from juggling the demands of motherhood and other aspects of life as a modern woman” (02:58). Sound familiar? Post-natal depletion is essentially characterized by the deterioration of both physical and mental health.
Women with post-natal depletion may experience any number of symptoms, including:
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- General feelings of being overwhelmed
- Guilt and loss of self-esteem
- Poor immune function
- Low libido (07:39)
Why does post-natal depletion occur (04:50)? Angela describes how, unfortunately, as a society, we’re not great at supporting young parents. Additionally, women may be becoming pregnant already in a state of nutritional depletion, potentially not getting enough sleep or exercising enough either (11:07).
Angela recommends a three-step approach for women in the throes of post-natal depletion:
- Replete and rebuild macronutrients and micronutrients
- Targeted botanical therapies
- Mindfulness (14:26)
Angela has a lot of recommendations for preventing and addressing post-natal depletion, mostly consisting of self-care, nutrition, sleep, exercise, stress management, and herbs. Angela’s favorite herbs for post-natal depletion include:
- Adrenal adaptogens like shatavari and Ashwagandha
- Nervines like passionflower
- Echinacea for immune support
Other important topics discussed include:
- Prevalence of post-natal depletion
- Markers of post-natal depletion (25:36)
- Other health conditions associated with post-natal depletion (26:32)