Postpartum Voice of the Week: Meds, Placentophagia, and Mamas! Oh My!

To take meds or not to take meds. THAT is the question so many moms with a Perinatal Mood Disorder face with a heavy heart. I hope it is a decision you take seriously, educating yourself about the risks, the benefits, talking with your doctor before changing a dosage level if you do decide to take medicine, and involving your pediatrician as well if you are nursing and decide to take medicine. Pharmacological treatment of a Postpartum Mood Disorder should involve a team of professionals – and the most important person on that team is YOU.

Stacey over at Maternal Ramblings wrote a wonderful post simply entitled “PPD” in which she opens up from a mom’s point of view about a severe case of PPD that led her to take medicine. She didn’t want to take medicine at first as she feared it would control her life. Stacey came to realize that a good day on meds was better than a bad day without. She’s enjoying feeling normal again and looks forward to the day when she won’t need the medicine anymore.

Kate Kripke, a fellow Postpartum Support International Coordinator in Colorado, wrote a great post from a professional standpoint entitled “What if I have PPD and I don’t want to take meds?” It’s well worth the read as she offers some invaluable insight when it comes to alternative or complementary approaches.

Ruta Nonacs, MD, Ph.D over at the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Women’s Health offers a Quick Review of Non-Pharmacologic Options  for the Treatment of Antenatal Depression. Understandably, a pregnant mother may want to avoid meds on a personal level even more so than a postpartum mother. Ruta quickly sums up several options but does caution that all of the studies associated with these methods only reviewed their effectiveness with mild to moderate depression. If you have severe depression, these options may not work for you. Remember, your health and mood is paramount. Depression crosses that placenta too.

Finally, Kate Kripke also offers a great piece on Placentophagia. If you are not quite sure what that is, it’s the ingestion of the placenta after birth. Many mothers have begun to encapsulate this after birth. To read more about a mom who did just that and how she did it, a great post is offered up by Emma Kwasnica, a passionate natural birth advocate in Canada. (There ARE pictures.) If a mom wants to ingest her placenta after birth, I feel she has the right to do so. Where I run into a problem is with the promotion of Placentophagia as a prevention for PPD. As laid out by Pec Indman as part of Kate’s post, much of the research quoted by those who practice Placentophagia is outdated and much of it does not focus on actual placenta ingestion but instead on the depletion of iron after birth. To date, no known human study has been completed which specifically focuses on Maternal Mental Health and the practice of Placentophagia. If you happen to know of one, please share it with me. I, and other PSI Coordinators, would love to read it.

In the end though, we are all on our own paths and so must our journey to wellness reflect our own hearts. I believe whole-heartedly in supporting a mama in whatever decision she may make as long as it is a well-informed decision reflecting her true sense of self and her family philosophy. No mother should ever be judged for her decisions when it comes to her mental health or the well-being of her family.

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