On Postpartum Depression:
A Naturopathic Doctor’s Perspective

About one out of ten childbearing women suffers from depression before, during, and/or after her pregnancy. Although maternal depression typically resolves on its own, as in the cases of prenatal depression and “baby blues”, it can also persist beyond its normal duration and manifest to include a greater constellation of symptoms which significantly interfere with the woman’s daily activities.  As a general rule of thumb, if the depressive symptoms persist beyond two weeks after the baby’s delivery, a woman is at risk of experiencing postpartum depression. The symptoms of postpartum depression include:

The conventional treatment regimen for postpartum depression involves the use of prescription medications (usually an SSRI or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) oftentimes combined with psychotherapy/counseling. Although the use of such drugs may help in some individuals, it is woefully inadequate (especially as a standalone measure) or simply inappropriate in other cases. A recent TV commercial by a pharmaceutical company disclosed that a great majority of depressed women already on an SSRI still have many unresolved symptoms and would thus benefit from yet another class of anti-depressive medications; all this before mentioning a long list of the harrowing side-effects that can be caused by the aforementioned drug being advertised. Just as noteworthy is that the use of an SSRI alone already carries the risk of various adverse effects, many of which resemble the symptoms of depression themselves.



Postpartum depression, like other forms of depressive mood disorders, can actually stem from various underlying causes and be further influenced by many factors. To merely medicate an individual in the hopes of correcting their dis-ease process is palliative (or suppressive) medicine at best. The following is a rather lengthy, though by no means exhaustive, list of possible causes of depression:


How Naturopathic Medicine Can Help

Naturopathic Medicine is a complete system of natural therapies that provide you with a safe and effective means to regain your health & wellness. Instead of addressing your health concerns with a fragmented approach as typical of mono (single) therapy, your ND will assess your case in a comprehensive manner and develop the appropriate plan combining the various naturopathic healing modalities* as a well-rounded means to ensure your best health outcome (in most cases, this means a lasting relief). In the occasionally more complex cases, NDs can be found working alongside conventional medical doctors or other health practitioners/specialists to further improve the odds of the patient’s eventual complete recovery.

*Clinical Nutrition, Homeopathy, and Botanical Medicine, to name a few.


Finding yourself a qualified Naturopathic Doctor

For more information on the proper accreditation and licensing process for Naturopathic Doctors, please consult the Amercian Association of Naturopathic Physicians.


Dr. Ruddy’s personal ruminations on Maternal Depression

Many of us would agree that mothers are the central figures of households (and, arguably, nations). The role of motherhood is much too complex a subject to be discussed and understood in a mere few words (or even pages) but, suffice it to say, the health of a mother is just as critical as that of the other family members, in helping ensure harmonious family dynamics and thus a rich family tapestry. And yet, because a mother typically carries the monumental task of providing, on a seemingly never-ending basis, physical care and emotional sustenance to just about everyone within her family, she is also the last to receive any similarly devoted care (which she deserves just as much as everyone else).

If you are interested in using natural medicine to improve your health and would like to do so under the care and guidance of a qualified Naturopathic Doctor in the Madison, WI area, you have come to the right place. If you would like to learn if Naturopathic Medicine is right for you, you can schedule a brief consultation with Dr. Ruddy (either in person or by phone) or book a full appointment at (608) 441-1590. (See Your First Visit)