To most women, motherhood is the time of your life when you wake up to a different world. It is about finding new meaning and a source of inspiration. There are no dull moments in motherhood, they say. But for quite some time after birth, there is one hounding reality that some women may go through – the inevitable effect of postpartum depression.
Fortunately, postpartum depression today is not a dismissive case for mothers to weather on their own. It also becomes less and less stigmatized in society and treatment is readily available. The options for treatment are not limited to visiting a psychotherapist anymore. There are social support groups, therapy, and medicine to lean on as well. Some mothers may even find relief in CBD (Cannabidiol) to manage postpartum symptoms. But what products are safe? In this post, we will explore the significance of CBD in managing postpartum depression. We will also roll out some products that moms, or even dads, can benefit from.
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What is postpartum depression?
According to the data, about 10 to 15% of women may experience the inevitable effect of postpartum depression (PPD). After giving birth, moms may go through this temporary phase feeling utterly down, anxious and empty. It is mainly due to a drop in hormonal levels as women go through a series of changes during and after childbirth. The feeling may begin from 2 to 3 days and could last until the second week of the baby’s life. It is called the postpartum blues.
If the symptoms extend beyond two weeks and she exhibits more intense symptoms, she is likely suffering from PPD. She may get overly anxious about taking care of her baby and worry if she might hurt him. In some severe cases, moms may attempt suicide or even killing their own baby.
PPD should not be confused with postpartum psychosis. Postpartum psychosis is a rare case of mental condition that affects a small percentage of new moms. It happens when they exhibit reckless behavior and begin to see things that are not there. Patients with postpartum psychosis may sometimes erupt in a hysterical laugh or uncontrollable crying. This condition merits a medical emergency.
The good thing about today is that treatments hold out hope to every mom suffering from PPD. And it does not mean just going out and socializing with other mothers. Sure, it will help in some ways. But medical breakthroughs are more progressive steps to cure and treat PPD.
A psychotherapist or social worker can assess the condition and employ the best strategies that will help manage PPD. Counseling can help mothers cope up and set realistic goals to alleviate their symptoms as well. Family or relationship therapy is also a good reinforcement to provide moms with the best support during this trying time of her life.
There are a lot of medicines that doctors may prescribe for women suffering from PPD. The most common among them are antidepressant drugs. For breastfeeding mothers, there are limited options of medicine they can take. But the good news is, there are still safe options like Brexanolone (Zulresso). We will discuss Zulresso in the later chapter.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
Severe PPD and those bordering on post-partum psychosis are treated with Electroconvulsive Therapy. It is a process where a team of trained medical professionals induces brief brain stimulation. They will send small electric currents into the brain to trigger a seizure. The process will reverse and treat mental health conditions. It is the last resort of doctors if the PPD patient does not respond positively to treatment.
CBD treatment for PPD
Although the results are quite limited, there are study outcomes that look at how CBD can help patients with PPD. It holds a lot of benefits even for alleviating the symptoms in mothers with depression and anxiety.
CBD or Cannabidiol is a single compound derived from a cannabis plant. Now let us clear the confusion here: Cannabidiol is different from marijuana. According to the FDA, marijuana is a type of cannabis plant that contains both CBD and THC. THC is the compound that generates the kind of “high” side effect. Cannabidiol does not contain this psychoactive component. It can come from either cannabis or hemp plants.
In low and controlled doses, CBD helps induce relaxation in people suffering from depression. It can also trigger positive emotional responses to reduce anxiety. CBD also contains anti-inflammatory properties that can help moms overcome physical pain after giving birth.
CBD products for postpartum depression
Caveat: Before taking any drug, it is still best to consult with your physician and discuss the matter and potential side-effects. Some doctors do recommend CBD if they deem that you need it and provide the proper dosage for dispensing. You also need to discuss with your healthcare provider if you are breastfeeding or have other medical issues.
Cannabidiol comes in many forms. The first FDA-approved CBD is Brexanolone with the brand name Zulresso. It is an intravenous drug specific for the treatment of postpartum depression. This IV infusion is available for administration only by a qualified health professional.
Zulresso treatment may last for up to 60 hours and requires close monitoring from the personnel. Clinical studies yield positive results and improve the depression rating scale among patients.
But aside from IV solutions, there are also CBD products that moms can rely on. They can be in the form of oils, tinctures, topical creams, edible snacks, beverages, or capsules. Again, we would want to reiterate checking with your doctor about its proper usage.
CBDs we would recommend for mothers
Sleep deprivation is a mutual problem among new mothers. The lack of sleep often leads to disruptive mood and depletes their energy. The CBD topicals are a common option for mothers suffering from postpartum blues. It is usually applied on the temples or forehead for moms having trouble with sleep. And to help mothers manage their mood swings and anxiety, CBD bath bombs are ideal essentials.
Some CBD in the form of oils is ingested orally. They may be mixed with drinks and smoothies. Some oils are also applied through sublingual administration. It means holding the oil underneath the tongue so that the capillaries will absorb them effectively.
Here are few products we recommend for mothers suffering from postpartum depression. Dads may also lay their hands on them for easing joint and muscle pains.
The hemp used in these high quality products are 100% grown in the U.S. and in small batches. We like Sir Hemp Co among other brands because of 2 reasons, the first is that they get the products 3rd party lab tested for safety, and the second is they have a very easy return policy incase you want to return or exchange what you got.
This non-psychoactive hemp cream stick is an instant and no-mess relief for the pain. It helps relieve sore joints and muscles and cure bouts of headache. It is also effective in easing anxiety and stress with a guaranteed long-lasting relief.
A nice bath is a good way of calming anxiety and depression. Moms can try the benefit of this Spa-Da Hemp Bath Bomb to relieve their tension and uplift their moods. It provides a therapeutic and moisturizing effect that speeds up muscle recovery and reduces anxiety. It is perfect for pampering new moms to give them new vigor in taking care of their baby.
CBD is also available in edible snacks like this Dakota Store gummy bear. It can aid in proper sleep relaxation, and combat anxiety disorders. When looking for edible CBD’s, don’t forget to check the labels. You may also want to check third-party testing if the products undergo analysis from independent testing laboratories.
Safety of CBD products and non-psychoactive cannabinoids
Presently, the market is overflowing with support for CBD products with various individual claims on their efficacy. Aside from PPD, users note their effectiveness in helping moms-to-be manage the severity of their morning sickness.
Here are the things you need to know as far as safety is concerned:
- Talk to your doctor before taking CBD, especially if breastfeeding.
- Start with the recommended low dosage of CBD for oral ingestion.
- Observe and keep track of your PPD symptoms.
- Use only high-quality and third-party tested products.
Is CBD legal?
CBD products extracted from hemp are federally legal. But there are state laws that still consider them otherwise. On the contrary, cannabis-derived CBD is federally illegal, but legal under some state laws. The local legislation varies, so you may need to check your local state laws for that.
Is CBD addictive?
According to WHO, CBD does not pose a potential for abuse. They are even a treatment for drug addiction and relapse prevention.
Does postpartum depression also affect fathers?
It sounds anecdotal, but yes, they do. CDC data and researches show that about 4% of new dads also experience depression for the first year of their child’s life. It is true for fathers already suffering from depression. But sometimes, the socio-economic status also propels dads to experience mild PPD. So, childbirth is generally teamwork that families and parents need to work out together to survive altogether.
Cannabidiol products bring out hope for new moms with PPD. Yet, please note that doctors still have varying opinions about it. Some would recommend it, but others may not be happy at all about it.
Their hesitation probably stems from the lack of research that supports the claims. There are few pieces of evidence to support its effectiveness. But there is also no proof to say that they are dangerous either. If you want to consider using CBD, always make sure that you are on the safe side by thoroughly weighing its potential benefits or side-effects. Also, don’t forget to consult your doctor before use.
Have you taken CBD for treatment? Or are you considering taking it? Share your thoughts and opinions with us. We’d love to hear from you!
Ann Marie is a licensed nurse in the Philippines. She had experiences in handling and assisting deliveries of newborns into the world. She also used to train in labor rooms and pediatric wards – helping soon-to-be mothers and little kids in the process. Though not a mother by nature but a mother by heart, Ann Marie loves to take care of her younger cousins as well as nephews and nieces during her free time.