You may already know that your hormones go through a wild ride of ups and downs during pregnancy and after birth. It’s normal to feel tired and nervous about being a new mom, but many postpartum problems can be caused by hormonal changes and imbalances. You may think that new symptoms and challenges are just part of the postpartum journey, but it’s important to realise that hormones have a big impact on our physical and mental health.
Stress and tiredness can be very hard to deal with in the postpartum period, so fixing your body’s hormonal balance is important to boost your physical and mental health. To get your hormones back in balance and working well, you need to feed your body with the right nutrients during the postpartum period and improve your health through lifestyle changes. The following can help support balanced hormone levels:
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Eat Nourishing Foods
Your body gives nutrients to your baby during pregnancy, which can leave you low. You may lose more from bleeding or nursing. This can cause nutrient deficiency and hormone imbalance. Restore your nutrients by eating foods like bone broth, organ meats, healthy fats, complex carbs and plants.
You may be low on nutrients postpartum so add supplements after eating well. A blood test can show what you need, but common deficiencies are iron, b-vitamins, vitamin D. You can also take DHA, choline, probiotics, calcium, magnesium and trace minerals to balance your hormones and for your baby’s health (if nursing).
You need more water when nursing, as breast milk is mostly water (experts say 128 oz per day, or around four 1 litre bottles). Water will help your milk supply and hormones. It can avoid headaches, fatigue, brain fog, digestion problems, and clear out waste and toxins (good for preventing constipation which can make oestrogen high).
Getting enough sleep can be tough with a newborn, but rest when possible. This will balance your hormones (like cortisol, melatonin, ghrelin and leptin) and heal your pelvic floor by keeping pressure off it. This can lower postpartum bleeding.
Eat More Iron
Postpartum iron deficiency is common from anaemia and blood loss. This can affect your hormones, as iron is needed for thyroid function, which impacts your metabolism, energy and mood.
Get Your Thyroid Checked
A low thyroid is a common postpartum hormone imbalance, causing hair loss, fatigue, weight gain (or hard weight loss), cold hands or feet, brain fog, constipation, dry skin, and irregular periods. Your thyroid hormones depend on iodine and selenium, so consume foods like seaweed, salted nuts, and baked fish.
Massages lower cortisol and balance dopamine and serotonin, which are linked to depression, while acupuncture can balance hormones and increase milk supply. Both are relaxing and may help you nap.
Walks + Low-Impact Movement
You can’t exercise the first six weeks, but walking is good once you’re ready (avoid the first few days to heal your pelvic floor). Being in nature helps blood flow (for detoxification), sleep cycle (for restful sleep), immune system and cortisol levels.
Try Infrared Sauna
Far-infrared sauna may seem like a luxury, but one session can release endorphins and other positive brain chemicals, fighting depression, anxiety, and boosting postpartum mood. Because you can’t exercise the first six weeks, it’s a safe way to sweat and get rid of toxins that hurt your liver and hormones.
As a new mom, resting, taking care of yourself and your wellbeing in the first few months postpartum is very important for your healing and recovery, helping to balance your hormones and improve your overall health. But how can you do that in practical ways? As you can see, there are many ways to manage your hormones and emotions in the postpartum period. Follow the tips in this blog and by nourishing your body, resting your mind, and supporting your healing, you can improve your physical and mental well-being and enjoy this precious time with your baby.