The Medicalization of Postpartum Depression

Holy Hormones Journal: We are witnessing the ‘medicalization’ of postpartum depression. Yes, like we witnessed the medicalization of PMS and menopause.  Sigh.

There are articles already floating around on the internet referring to PPD as PPP – postpartum psychosis.  Just like PMS was turned into PMDD – premenstrual dysphoric disorder – and is now listed in the DSM 5 as a ‘mental illness’.

Read farther down in the article and you will note a related article… also posted here – discussing the firstwomen and mental illness 3 inpatient unit for women with PPD.  150 years ago these ‘units’ were known as asylums, ‘loony bins’ – mental institutions, psych wards… and they were filled with women with PMS, PMDD and PPD. And once upon a time, a husband had the ‘right’ to lock up his wife and toss away the key.  These days we lock up a woman’s mind with drugs…. and throw away the key.

Are you beginning to see the picture? $$$$$$$ and the medicalization of women’s bodies.

My take on the rise in PPD – is that women are going into pregnancy hormonally imbalanced due to synthetic hormone use – and other estrogen toxins in the environment – and they are undernutrated because of the decreasing nutrients in our foods.

Synthetic vitamins – like prenatals get stored in the body – not absorbed at the cellular level.  The pregnancy depletes the last of the woman’s nutritional reserve – and she is not getting any support from the prenatal. And once her progesterone levels drop – post-pregnancy – she dives right back into hormone imbalance – and starts experiencing depression and anxiety.

My suggestion is that we begin nutrating before we begin diagnosing and prescribing drugs that further confuse the neural pathways – and deplete more vital nutrients out of the body. This how women heal women. We have been doing this for thousands of years.  The male-dominated medical system – treats symptoms with drugs. There is a big difference.

I posted a blog article on this not too long ago – when Good Morning America had a “news” segment on giving new mothers Xanax to be ‘better mommies’.

We need to bring back the healing arts – a practice intuited and understood by women.
Enough is enough.

First Genetic Markers That Predict Postpartum Depression

Health and Family

By @acsifferlinMay 21, 2013

Researchers say that a blood test may soon identify which pregnant women are at highest risk of developing postpartum depression, so they can seek treatment that could control their symptoms.

Up to 20% of new mothers may experience feelings of anxiety, hopelessness, and sadness after giving birth, but doctors don’t have a reliable way of predicting which expectant moms are most vulnerable. While those with a history of mood disorders may have a slightly higher risk of feeling postpartum depression, in most cases there are few signs that foretell which women will develop the disorder in the weeks and months after they deliver.

But in a small study of 52 pregnant women described in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found changes in certain genes, which they could pick up in the blood, that distinguished women who went on to suffer from postpartum from those who did not. The genetic changes were epigenetic modifications, which means they were not permanent alterations in the women’s genomes but instead reflected differences in the way these genes were activated.

The scientists, led by Zachary Kaminsky, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Hopkins, were inspired to look for the genetic changes after studies in mice. They found that estrogen, which increases during pregnancy, triggers changes in the hippocampus, a region of the brain that’s responsible for memory and mood, and that two genes were affected in particular. Not much was known about these snippets of DNA, except that they played some role in processes that are important for regulating mood — such as adapting to new environments and reorganizing neural circuits to make such accommodations possible.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.