The previous three responders have covered the options of Psychological, Social or Biological treatment in detail. I would like to address a couple of treatment options that sit well with all of these therapies and are a must to ensure progress in treatment.
DIET Adequate nurition is important in the recovery process. Maintaining a healthy diet can be difficult for new mothers as they are often so focused on feeding their baby that they neglect eating properly themselves, either skipping meals or eating food that is not nutritious. Women should aim to eat regular meals that incorporate fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meat, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. Having an assortment of quality foods to snack on (e.g. fruit, low fat yoghurt, raw nuts and seeds, raw vegetable sticks, whole grain crackers) can be helpful if women can't find the time or motivation to prepare a meal. Women should also try and avoid the use of stimulants like alcohol, coffee, tea, cola and energy drinks.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY Unfortunately, when someone is depressed, they often lack the motiviation to participate in physical activity. The effects of sleep deprivation associated with a new baby can also make women feel too tired. Physical activity, however, is an excellent way that women can help themselves. Regular physical activity has been shown to improve one's mood and sense of well-being. Walking is an excellent activity for new mothers as it is not too strenuous and with the right stroller or carrier, baby can come along too. For some women exercising with a friend or organised group is a good idea as not letting others down provides extra motivation.
It is important that anyone using complementary therapies informs their health professional as they can have side effects, interact with other treatments or be unsafe to use during breastfeeding. St John's Wort (a herbal remedy) has been found to be effective in treating mild to moderate depression. It can interact with a large number of medications including warfarin, anticonvulsants, oral contraceptives and antidepressants. Other complementary therapies for which there is some positive evidence include folate supplementation, acupuncture, bibliotherapy (self help books), light therapy, massage, air ionisation and yoga.
Women’s Health Educator
Health Information Line, Women’s Health Queensland Wide
Women living in Queensland can also call our Health Information Line - a free information and referral service for Queensland women - on 3839 9988 or 1800 017 676 (toll free outside Brisbane).
Please note that all health information provided by Women’s Health Queensland Wide is subject to this disclaimer
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