Post Natal Depression
By Sally Longden
During pregnancy the progesterone levels reach heights never experienced before, in fact they rise up to 400mg per day. This is because the placenta takes over the production of progesterone from the Corpus Luteum at about 4-8 weeks. Progesterone is the hormone that is responsible for maintaining healthy pregnancies and preventing miscarriages. You would usually not need to supplement with progesterone after about 10 weeks as the natural production of progesterone is high.
Progesterone is also the hormone responsible for enabling woman to go through the birth process without too much trauma. Progesterone, the hormone that got its name from being the pregnancy hormone “pro-gestation” has been studied extensively for its amazing effects in the body. It is Nature’s analgesic (pain-killer), Natures anti-inflammatory and Natures tranquilizer and relaxant. Levels of progesterone reach their peak just before birth, and it is thanks to this hormone that the female can actually go through the difficult and painful birth process.
After birth the placenta is shed and progesterone levels drop suddenly from very high to very low. This is what causes the “baby blues”. This depression is only experienced in humans and not other species, because we are the only species that does not eat the placenta, which would naturally increase the levels of progesterone!!. Normally the hormone levels balance out fairly quickly and the mild depression lifts. If, however, the progesterone levels remain low, the depression deepens and carries on. This is known as Post Natal Depression. This condition does not respond well to traditional anti-depressants, but responds very well to progesterone, as it is the deficiency of this hormone that has caused the depression in the first place.
It is recommend women should put the progesterone on immediately the baby is born and continue for a few weeks and then slowly wean themselves off. However, if depression again arises, they should stay on Naturone until their hormonal levels return to normal. This may only be once their cycle starts again.
Post Natal Depression (PND) can be a serious condition and may even develop into a psychosis. It is so easily prevented however, with this wonderful therapy.
Unfortunately women with PND are often advised to stop breastfeeding. The reasoning behind this is so that the hormonal balance and the menstrual cycle returns to normal more quickly. This, in severe cases of PND often does not sort out the problem. A far healthier and more satisfying approach would be natural progesterone therapy. As far as breastfeeding is concerned, progesterone is obviously not harmful to the baby and can safely be taken by breastfeeding mothers as a supplement if needed. In nature there are numerous cases where mothers have continued breastfeeding their baby whilst being pregnant with the next child (extremely high levels of progesterone at this stage will be coming through the breast milk).
Dr Katherina Dalton had written many books on the subject of PND and progesterone therapy.