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Easing stress and postpartum depression trough Yoga

Posted May 09 2013 1:58am

Some experts recommend easing stress and postpartum depression through Yoga.  About 7% of all women will experience postpartum depression immediately or up to 4-6 weeks after giving birth to their child.
When should you consider easing stress and postpartum depression through yoga?
Some of the common symptoms of postpartum depression include:

-         Feeling generally depressed, hopeless and empty.

-         Anxiety.

-         A drastic change in appetite and weight loss or weight gain.

-         Feeling annoyed by almost all usual activities.

-         Feeling very tired and a total lack of energy

-         Insomnia.

-         An unexplainable feeling of guilt and worthlessness.

-         Having a hard time concentrating.

-         In some extreme cases – suicidal thoughts and thought about harming the new baby.

There are ways for easing stress and postpartum depression through yoga, but what are the causes for these conditions?

Research shows that postpartum depression is caused by the hormonal changes and imbalances, which occur in the female body after the long pregnancy and birth.  There are suggestions though that there is a way for easing stress and postpartum depression through yoga, and that actually this could be one of the best methods to treat this condition and help the mother return to her normal life and the happiness of motherhood.

The hormone CRH (corticotrophin-releasing hormone) is over-produced by the body during the last trimester of the pregnancy to help the mother cope with the stress of labor.  But when its production suddenly decreases once the baby is born, the mother’s organism may be left with little or no biological means to cope with stress. And the stress of having a brand new baby, with all the responsibilities, sleepless nights and worries can really be overwhelming right after birth.  The CRH released also is known to trigger the over-production of cortisol – the stress hormone, which on the other hand can lead to depression. Since it is mainly the hormone levels which can cause postnatal depression, it is possible through medical tests to recognize and determine the risk of the mother developing such a worrying condition.  The tests can be performed in the 25th week of the pregnancy, and if such a risk factor is found, certain precautions can be taken. One of the best natural methods is easing stress and postpartum depression trough yoga.

Yoga’s asana (the practice of sitting still in a position, which is firm, but relaxed for extended periods) and pranayama (the art of breathing) are known to be very helpful in managing stress and the actual reduction of the body’s production of the stress hormones.  The stress hormones are produced by a part of the brain, which becomes more active once the body “gives a sign” of a stressful situation. Namely, when breathing becomes rapid and the heart rate increases. By mastering the art of breathing – pranayama, this rapid breathing can be controlled and minimized, which will lead to the reduction of the production of stress hormones by the brain.

By practicing yoga, the woman will master the relaxation techniques necessary to keep the hormones in balance, reduce stress and thus reduce the possibility of feeling stress and postpartum depression after the baby is born.
Apart from reducing stress and the risk of postnatal depression, prenatal yoga will also help the pregnant ladies to increase the muscle strength and endurance necessary for labor, help decrease back pain, headaches and nausea.  It will also help decrease the risk of premature birth and the risk of giving birth to a low-weight baby.  The prenatal yoga exercises usually include: gentle stretching, breathing exercises, postures to improve strength and flexibility, relaxation exercises. This is why ladies should consider easing stress and postpartum depression through yoga from the early stages of their pregnancies.

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