For this month’s blog, we are chatting with passionate yoga instructor, Naturopath and mama Amy Mingin about her specialty and passion- Women’s Health.
Amy discusses and uncovers information about Post Natal Depression (PND), using natural therapies and supplements to support a mother during the newborn phase as well as integrating some soft body movement into your pregnancy and during postpartum phase. Amy also shares a great starting point for a women who is looking towards some more natural forms of support and self care during pregnancy and postpartum.
We hope you enjoy this valuable and informative article with Amy.
As a Naturopath, what areas do you specialise in?
Women's health, especially hormone balancing, and adrenal fatigue. I also see a lot of mums with babies, providing help with sleep, settling, colic, food intolerances and introduction to solids.
What role can Naturopathy play in pregnancy and postpartum?
Naturopathy can serve as a foundation for whole food eating, immune and energy support, as well as ensuring mum and baby receive all the nutrients they require to thrive. Identifying food triggers as well as nutrient deficiencies are so important at this stage of life. Naturopathy serves women and babies so well with the holistic information we can arm women with to make informed health decisions.
What exactly is postpartum depression? How do you know if you have it?
Postpartum depression is feelings of anxiety and/or depression that last for longer than 2 weeks anytime during months 1-12 of postpartum life. This does not just affect new or first time mums; it can affect mothers with multiple children also. There are many tell tale signs you could have PND, such as:
- ongoing anxiety/depression
- feelings of worthless/useless
- wanting to harm yourself or the baby
- feeling exhausted, teary and overwhelmed about the future
- feeling scared about going out with the baby alone
- feeling overly anxious about everyday baby routine patterns
(This list is not exhaustive and yes, sometimes you will feel this way being a new mum. I know I did!) If you're experiencing the above symptoms it is important to speak to someone and have an assessment so you can receive the support you need.
Is postpartum depletion different to PND? Can it be treated naturally?
With the women I've met and helped with PND, postpartum depletion, in my eyes, is what happens just before PND. There's often a cycle that occurs.
New mums are so busy trying to do everything right, and breastfeed and look after their baby that they can forget to eat/drink and therefore become depleted very quickly. Add sleep deprivation in there and it is recipe for PND. Yes it most certainly can be treated naturally. There are many diet, lifestyle and supplemental supports we can bring into play to help women cope through the postpartum period.
How can natural therapies and naturopathic supplements come into play during the postpartum period?
Any Natural therapy that helps a woman care for herself and essentially 'fill her cup' will be beneficial at ANY stage of motherhood, however it is especially important during the first 3 months postpartum.
In Eastern culture, they speak about the first 40 days, or the fourth trimester, where mother and baby are cared for by the rest of the family. They are massaged with oils each day, fed warming, healing foods and encouraged to rest.
In the Western culture where we live, we often have partners who work and we spend a lot of the waking hours alone, caring for our babies by ourselves. This can lead to depletion and possibly PND if not treated.
There is scientific literature to say there is a higher chance of PND if a woman is deficient in omega 3's (particularly DHA) and Zinc. Eating seafood regularly during pregnancy as well as taking a fish oil supplement (at least 200mg DHA daily) could help with addressing the omega 3's. Including more Zinc rich foods such as pepitas, meats, oysters and legumes and/or taking a supplement that has at least 25mg elemental zinc can help prevent PND. Zinc also has the added benefit of boosting the immune system and helping heal any soft tissue affected whilst birthing (e.g. tearing or stitches).
As a Yoga instructor, do you have any advice for women looking to prepare their body for birth?
YES! Forget the kegals and start squatting. If you're planning a natural birth, you're needing to have good leg/glute/hip strength and endurance. So holding some static wall squats for 2 mins daily from week 25 onwards will help immensely! Join a prenatal yoga class and learn about how to open your hips in a safe way to prepare for labour. Yoga is fantastic for aligning the body to assist you in birthing naturally. Learning yogic breath and tuning into your baby during a pre natal yoga class will help you once labour begins as you will know how to focus on your breath and this helps you deal with the contractions so much easier. Lastly, if you have sciatica or instability of the pelvis, yoga can help strengthen around the joints and help you move more freely.
How about integrating a yoga practice into the postpartum period to help get your body moving again in a gentle way?
So long as you feel good, slow, gentle yoga is highly beneficial in the postpartum period. In fact yoga has been shown to decrease depression in scientific studies so it is a great way to reconnect with your amazing body, breathe, and allow some stress relief to help you sleep better (when you get to sleep that is lol), cope with the everyday stresses of being a mum and may even help to prevent/treat PND.
Please don't be in a rush to have your 'pre baby' body back. Go gently and allow your strength to return as well as your body shape to return slowly and naturally.
Understanding that there is not a 'one size fits all approach' to natural therapies, do you have any recommendations or starting points for a new mother who is looking for some support during this vulnerable time in her life?
Surround yourself with a few good friends or family members who respect you and support you with the choices you make. Have a health support team around you that don't give conflicting advice; such as Naturopath, Chiro, a friendly, approachable GP, lactation consultant and massage therapist. If someone is coming to visit, don't be afraid to ask them to bring a meal or to tidy up for you or hold the baby while you shower. You've created a brand new person and brought them into the world.
Well done mumma!
ABOUT OUR CONTRIBUTOR:
Amy Mingin is a bachelor degree qualified Naturopath and Yoga instructor with a special interest in women's and children's health. She runs consultations both in her clinic in Currumbin, QLD as well as online with women all over the world. She holds regular workshops, helping women connect and feel more empowered about their health. Having been through adrenal fatigue, thyroid and metabolic issues, Amy brings first hand experience when it comes to treating women in a natural and holistic way.
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