One of the biggest fears I had during my first pregnancy was how my postpartum hormones would affect me once my baby was born.
I’d heard a variety of stories from friends about how postpartum hormones affected them. Some said that their hair fell out in clumps, more reported their energy was zapped, and some revealed that they had no interest in sex for months!
In nursing school, I was taught that one of the biggest factors that influenced how one responded to postpartum hormones was genetics. While I hadn’t heard a lot of negative comments from my mom or aunts about their experiences after pregnancy, I did know that my maternal grandmother seriously struggled in this area.
My grandmother suffered from postpartum depression and tragically passed away when her sixth child was less than a year old. This was something I knew about growing up, but it was rarely talked about, and it wasn’t until I was older that I learned the actual reason behind my grandmother’s death. Her depression was a known issue that seemed to worsen with each pregnancy, and while she had sought help for it in her later pregnancies, it eventually became too much to handle.
As you can guess, I didn’t know what this post-pregnancy period would be like for me, but I was bound and determined to do all I could to keep my body and mental state in healthy working order. That meant feeding my body healthy foods, getting plenty of fresh air and exercise, minimizing toxins in my life, understanding how my hormones would fluctuate, and supporting my body through and beyond pregnancy with high-quality herbs and supplements.
In this article, I’d like to share 5 lessons I learned about postpartum hormones over the course of my four pregnancies, as well as some DIY herbal remedies the postpartum mama can use to help support her body during this time of life. But first, let’s look briefly at how hormones fluctuate during the postpartum period as well as some common postpartum hormone-related complaints.
Understanding Postpartum Hormones
Hormones are associated with the nervous and endocrine systems of the body. These systems work in conjunction to produce and release hormones as needed. Hormones control a lot of functions in your body (Hoffmann, 2003), especially those occurring during and after pregnancy.
Postpartum hormone fluctuation is perfectly normal even though it can leave you feeling like you’re on an emotional roller coaster! Some hormones are dropping (like estrogen and progesterone) while others are increasing (like prolactin) and some remain at stable levels for months after birth (like relaxin) (Brown, 2003).
After delivery, estrogen and progesterone levels drop suddenly, putting your body into a menopausal-like state. This can lead to hot flashes, low energy, hair loss, dry skin, low libido, and depression (Hooper, 2017).
The good news is that after delivery, your hormones slowly begin to regulate themselves, getting back to their normal balanced state (Brown, 2003). If you’re breastfeeding, this can prolong your “postpartum menopause” as prolactin (another hormone that regulates breast milk production) can cause these hormones to take a bit longer to level out (Hooper, 2017).
Now that you have had a brief overview of what’s going on with your hormones after delivery, let me share 5 lessons I’ve learned about this topic over the course of four pregnancies as well as some lifestyle and herbal tips to help you when it comes to balancing your hormones naturally.
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Want to know even more about common pregnancy hormones, the changes that occur because of them, and herbs that can support you through this season of life? If so, I have an ebook you will love!
Naturally Healthy Hormones: A Guide To Seasonal Herbal Support For Women
Now you can get this entire UPDATED blog series in ebook format with additional information, resource links, and herbal recipes! This beautifully designed 70-page ebook that explores hormone health from a natural perspective.
In this ebook, we will look at how hormones fluctuate as well as some common hormone-related conditions in each of the above seasons. We’ll share some lifestyle practices (from diet and exercise to meditation, herbs, and more) that can help to gently ease your body into a more balanced, healthy hormonal state. You will also find 30+ herbal recipes scattered throughout the chapters of this book to make it easy for you to incorporate these herbal allies into your life as well. Lastly, we’ve included some fantastic hormone resources to help you if you’re looking for more information and support as you transition from season to season.
Inside you will learn:
- How herbs and lifestyle changes can help keep your hormones “balanced,”
- A basic overview of the endocrine system,
- 5 foundational steps that will set you up for naturally healthy hormones right from the beginning,
- Overview of the most common hormonal changes and symptoms experienced during pregnancy,
- Common postpartum hormonal changes and complaints,
- Hormone changes experienced in menopause and how to manage them with grace,
- Hormone resources for all stages in the hormone journey, and
- 30+ herbal recipes and countless lifestyle recommendations that can help support your body during every step of the journey of womanhood!
Whether you want to set yourself up for hormone success from the get-go, sail through pregnancy and postpartum period with ease, or manage menopause with as much grace as possible, this ebook can help guide you in the right direction. Not only that but if all the information we share in this book isn’t enough, we’re sharing 45 other hormone resources and a plethora of references that can offer you some extra knowledge and support as well!
While the experience of being pregnant isn’t the same for everyone (nor is each pregnancy the same for an individual), the hormonal fluctuations women experience during this time of life can be navigated in a healthy, natural way. Knowing about the changes that are happening in your body, what’s to be expected, and how to keep yourself as healthy as possible during this time will all work towards making this season of life an enjoyable one.