What is Postnatal Depression?
Postnatal depression is a form of depression that many parents experience after having their baby. Signs of postnatal depression can include:
- A persistent feeling of sadness and low mood
- Lack of enjoyment and loss of interest in the wider world
- Lack of energy and fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Withdrawing from contact with other people
- Difficulty with decision making and concentration
- Frightening thoughts – for example about harming yourself or your baby
How does Traditional Chinese Medicine treat it?
The way Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treats postnatal depression stems from a holistic understanding of human physiology, and the intrinsic connection with our minds, emotions and body. TCM observes the physical manifestations that patients describe, as well as disruptions in thought, cognition or behaviour.
In TCM, mental and emotional elements are terms ‘Shen’, which can be translated as ‘spirit’, ‘mind’ or ‘consciousness’. The Heart is understood to be the organ where our Shen resides, because of its part in the circulation and production of blood (Xue). The health of our Shen is therefore linked with the quality and health of our Xue.
During pregnancy, a vast amount of Qi and Xue is needed to support the development of the foetus. Whilst in labour, the birthing mother requires a great deal of Qi to bring her baby into the world, which can sometimes lead to the development of qi deficiency. This is often accompanied by a degree of blood loss, which can lead to a Xue deficiency as well. On top of this, breastfeeding depletes Xue and Jing (translated as essence), as breastmilk is said to be produced from these vital substances.
If there is a deficiency of Qi and/or Xue, this can result in symptoms that form postnatal depression. Using acupuncture and herbal medicine, a TCM practitioner can build up the mother’s levels of Qi and Xue, allowing her body to be rebalanced; restoring good health and happiness and providing her with sustenance to nurture her newborn baby.
Often those suffering from postnatal depression feel alone and isolated, but TCM can offer a way out. Feel Free To contact Us any time for a full consultation and treatment.