What Is Postpartum Depletion, and How Do You Recover?

Bringing a newborn to the world can be exciting! Waking up every day to the beautiful infectious smile of your baby is an unexplainable feeling for many mothers. Nonetheless, being a new mother comes with a frustrating dark side. 

Occasionally, you’ll feel worn out, as if you have no energy. This weighs you down, causes mood swings, and affects your day. If you’ve experienced this recently, you’re not alone. This situation is known as postpartum depletion, and many new mothers go through it worldwide. Today, you’ll discover everything you need to know about postpartum depletion. So, let’s get to it!

What is postpartum depletion, and do I have it?

First, is it postpartum depletion or postpartum depression? You could be asking. The two medical terms refer to the same thing and can be used interchangeably. However, there’s a slight difference. Overall, both refer to the time after birth. 

According to Dr. Oscar Serrallach, an author and a dedicated maternal care practitioner, postpartum depletion is a condition of fatigue and exhaustion experienced by mothers after childbirth. It is also accompanied by the “baby brain.” 

Studies posit that more than 50% of moms struggle with this condition after childbirth. The vast majority of these mothers already have two or more children, have had another child/ren in less than three years, or have a low vitamin and nutrient count.  

A woman’s body takes two to three years to replenish nutrient reserves after pregnancy. Having a child before the period elapses can contribute to postpartum depletion. How can you know you have postpartum depletion? Below are the signs to look out for.

  • General body fatigue
  • Emotional fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Catching sleep unintentionally
  • Mood swings
  • Postpartum hair loss
  • Feeling guilty and ashamed
  • Crying without reason
  • Frustration
  • Low self-esteem
  • Isolation
  • Libido loss
  • Baby brain

Postpartum depletion occurs after pregnancy, and the symptoms may extend to several years after childbirth. The fetus depends on the mother for almost everything. The mother supplies iron, zinc, vitamin B, and iodine to the baby during pregnancy through the placenta. 

Other nutrients are certain amino acids and omega-3 fats. After childbirth, a mother may be fully or partially drained of the essential body vitamins and nutrients. This means she needs a quick refilling of the insufficient or completely missing nutrients and vitamins. Sadly, if the situation isn’t kept in check, it can lead to postpartum depletion.

Being a mother is demanding, and the thought of what lies ahead can lead to postpartum depression for many mothers. To prevent the situation from escalating, it’s best to handle it on time, or you may have to deal with a prolonged postpartum condition.

How long does postpartum depletion last?

Postpartum depletion varies from one woman to another. As Dr. Serrallach reports, some years back, the condition used to last six months after childbirth. However, times have changed! Today, some mothers experience postpartum depletion seven years or more after delivery.

The change is coming about due to several factors during pregnancy, childbirth, and post-childbirth. This also means that more than 50% of mothers have postpartum depression to deal with seven or ten years down the line after delivery. 

A prolonged period occurs when the situation isn’t handled on time. This happens when the mother is neglected, and the focus is directed to the child. The mother needs as much attention as the child. During this time, their physical and emotional health also matters a lot.

Thus, apart from childbirth, the following factors can prolong postpartum depletion.

  • Poor nutrition: During pregnancy, a mother loses a lot of nutrients and vitamins to the baby. After childbirth, it’s important that she recovers all the nutrients and vitamins by eating the right food. Sadly, poor nutrition is a hindrance to post-birth recovery.
  • Inadequate sleep: Having a newborn means you have to watch over them constantly. However, it’s important to create some time to sleep. Lack of sleep for a long time can prolong the postpartum depletion period.
  • External pressure from family and friends: Expectations from family members and friends can exert a lot of pressure and frustrations on the new mom. So, it’s important that the mother is in a friendly environment with supportive people.
loving african-american parents cuddling in bed with their baby

Having a strong support system will help you overcome postpartum depletion.

How do you treat postpartum depletion?

Many women suffer postpartum depletion, which can lead to postpartum depression and physical and emotional deterioration if not taken care of on time. The best way to deal with postpartum depletion is to replenish the lost vitamins and nutrients.

There’s no better way to achieve this than following the right nutrition and diet recommended by a certified professional nutritionist. After childbirth, you want to compensate for the lost nutrients by eating foods rich in nutrients and vitamins. 

That being said, your diet should be rich in vitamin D, folate, iron, choline, omega-3 fatty acids, and calcium.

  • Vitamin D: Sufficient vitamin D in the body enables enough breast milk production for your baby. Besides that, it also facilitates the healthy development of bones. You can get vitamin D by consuming foods rich in it or get it for free from the sun.
  • Folate: Eating folate-rich foods like cabbage, kale, broccoli, and kidney peas help with cell renewal and improved heart health. Overall, eating vegetables goes a long way.
  • Iron: Postpartum anemia is real and affects many mothers. During this time, the body loses a lot of iron which can be replaced by eating iron-rich foods.
  • Choline: Choline is a type of vitamin B. During pregnancy, a lot of vitamin B is transferred to the baby to aid their growth and development. Eating choline-rich foods after childbirth helps to fill up the gap.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 is among the top nutrients a mother loses to the baby during pregnancy. So, eating food rich in omega-3 fatty acids helps restore the levels to normal.
  • Calcium: A lot of your body’s calcium is found in breast milk and is passed on to the baby during breastfeeding. Eating calcium-rich foods like leafy greens and salmon will help restore your calcium levels.

Besides eating the right food, you also need to take care of your mental and physical health. So, try to get as much sleep as necessary, create your “me time” to relax your mind, or go for counseling and therapy. Lastly, hang around people with positive energy.

How do you recover from postpartum depletion?

Like we’ve already mentioned, the best way to recover from postpartum depletion is by eating vitamin-rich and nutrient-rich foods. However, this may not be feasible for all situations and every mom. Therefore, it’s important to opt for postpartum supplements instead.

These supplements contain high-quality ingredients and are rich in all the necessary nutrients and vitamins for new mothers. While eating all the food mentioned above may be impractical for various reasons, taking postpartum supplements can help you achieve your daily nutritional goals. 

The good news is BINTO offers the right postpartum supplements with top-quality ingredients to help you with your recovery journey. Contact us today to get started on these healthy and effective postpartum supplements.

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