Although 1 in 7, or 11-20%, of new mothers suffer from postpartum depression, it still remains a sensitive and rather stigmatized condition. This means that there is an estimated 900,000 to 1 million women suffering each year- yet only 850,000 get the help that they need. There are a number of reasons this may be- it could come down to financial reasons, the stigma attached to the condition, and/or the women being nervous that any drug they take may harm their baby through their breast milk. Many may not realize that there is an alternative to taking drugs that will help their symptoms.
Common postpartum depression symptoms include mood swings, unhappiness, anxiety, inability to bond with their baby, lack of appetite, low energy and libido, low self-esteem, hypersomnia and insomnia to name a few of the most common new mothers experience. The good news is acupuncture is a safe and all-natural way to help cure you of your symptoms.
How Effective is Acupuncture for PPD?
A study conducted in 2014 and published in MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health concluded that acupuncture treatment combined with psychological intervention had an effective rate of 90.7%, while those taking fluoxetine hydrochloride (Prozac) had an effective rate of 90.5%. The study took place over the course of six weeks, and over that time, both groups showed a 50% decrease in their symptoms overall. The new mothers’ depressive symptoms were measured using the Hamilton Depression Scale or the HAMD.
The researchers did find that although both groups proved to be just as effective in reducing postpartum depression symptoms, some women in the fluoxetine hydrochloride (Prozac) group reported side effects including nausea, dizziness, and loss of appetite. The women in the acupuncture group reported having no negative side effects.
How Acupuncture Can Help With Post-Labor Recovery
Besides helping in PPD, acupuncture can be an invaluable treatment plan to help with your post-labor recovery by helping lactation promotion, stress management, healing of tissues from delivery (whether it be from a C-section or vaginal delivery) and helping re-balance your hormones post-delivery.
In fact, acupuncture can be extremely helpful for the first year after child birth by reducing your anxiety, improving your quality of sleep, balancing your hormones, easing your body aches and pains BEFORE they become a chronic issue- I.e. the ‘nursing hunch’ and the ‘baby back’ lower back pain, reducing stress, and promoting overall calm and positive moods.