After having a child, many women feel overwhelmed with a whirlwind of emotions and responsibilities.
They find it difficult to keep up with what each day requires from them as well as keeping up with sleep.
This leads them to develop anxiety issues, insomnia, and general mood swings that are not only painful for the people around them but themselves too.
To avoid these symptoms in the future after childbirth, keeping your hormones on balance is key!
So, let’s look at how to balance hormones after pregnancy.
What Are Hormones?
Hormones, also known as endocrine glands, are chemicals secreted by the pituitary gland, the hypothalamus, the adrenal glands, and the ovaries. They are released into the bloodstream to communicate information from one part of the body to another.
Hormones are chemical messengers that impact a variety of biosynthetic reactions in the body, and they work in a controlled feedback loop to keep everything in check.
Hormones can be affected by many events, most notably giving birth.
In fact, following childbirth, hormones change rapidly and return to their pre-pregnancy state within a few months.
Estrogen and progesterone are hormones that play an important role in the development of the placenta and during pregnancy.
Immediately postpartum, estrogen and progesterone levels plummet, leading to a swing of emotions such as anger, sadness, joy, hypersensitivity, and irritability.
The hormones that affect mood and behavior originate from the brain and travel through nerve cells to other parts of the body.
Hormones can have a positive or negative impact on your health, depending on how they’re used and how they interact with your body.
There are dozens of hormones, but some of the most important ones include estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, thyroid hormone, adrenaline, and cortisol.
What Causes Hormonal Imbalance After Pregnancy?
Hormonal imbalance after pregnancy occurs when there are changes in the levels of the female reproductive hormones, estrogen and progesterone. These hormonal changes can cause a variety of symptoms, including mood swings, fatigue, weight gain, and hair loss.
Signs of Hormone Imbalance After Pregnancy
Signs of hormone imbalance can manifest in a variety of ways, including extreme fatigue, weight loss, mood swings, anxiety, insomnia, hair loss, postpartum distress syndrome, and increased sensitivity to cold.
Other symptoms include:
- Hot flashes
- Decreased libido
- Dry skin
- Irregular periods
- Breast milk issues
- Heart palpitations
- Vaginal dryness
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms after pregnancy, it is important to see a doctor to get help restoring your balance.
How to Balance Hormones After Pregnancy
There are many things that can contribute to postpartum hormone imbalances and they can differ from patient to patient. Some of the more common causes of imbalance include:
– Lack of sleep
– Poor diet
– Lack of exercise
– Lack of sleep is the most common cause of postpartum hormone imbalance.
For this reason, it is important you talk to your doctor to rule out other causes of hormonal imbalance.
Some basic changes your doctor may advise you to introduce are:
– Avoid processed foods that cause blood sugar dysregulation
– Eat proteins, fiber, and healthy fats
– Get enough iron and vitamin C to fight postpartum depression symptoms
– Drink water and eat fruits, vegetables, soups, and smoothies to stay hydrated and balanced
Exercising can also help to return your postpartum hormones to their pre-birth levels.
That’s because your body will produce endorphins as a result of physical activities.
Endorphins help to stabilize your mood and relieve stress.
Which Exercise Is Best For Hormonal Imbalance?
There are a variety of exercises that can help restore hormonal balance after pregnancy, including yoga and Pilates. It is important to consult with a health professional before beginning an exercise program if you have any doubts or concerns about your health.
Here is a video from Yoga with Kassandra on how to balance hormones after pregnancy with Yoga:
Foods That Balance Hormones After Pregnancy
These are the recommended foods to eat to balance postpartum hormones:
– Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids
– Foods that are high in fiber
– Foods that are high in iron (beans, egg yolks, leafy greens, etc)
– Foods that are high in calcium
– Foods that are high in magnesium
– Foods that are high in vitamin D
Other important things to remember are:
– Avoid processed foods that contain simple carbohydrates that are stored as fats
– Eat proteins to help with hormone regulation
– Eat fiber to help with bowel movements and constipation, and enough to fight against anemia and fatigue
– Eat healthy fats such as avocado, almonds, seeds, salmon, etc
Eat Organic Foods
Eat organic foods to minimize exposure to pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and GMO foods.
This way you can keep your exposure to added estrogens low or avoid them altogether.
Protein is important for many functions in the body, including hormones and neurotransmitter synthesis.
Protein consumption influences the hunger hormone ghrelin and the production of hormones that help you feel full.
Consuming adequate amounts of protein is essential to balancing postpartum hormones.
Eat a minimum of 20–30 grams of protein per meal to suppress appetite and help you feel full.
High protein foods include eggs, chicken breast, lentils, or fish at each meal.
Eat Your Fiber
Eat 28-34 grams of fiber a day to improve digestion and flush toxins.
Fiber is essential for a healthy diet, increasing insulin sensitivity and stimulating the production of hormones that make you feel full.
Eat Iron-Rich Foods
Postpartum depression can be caused by iron deficiency anemia.
Anemia can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, and difficulty concentrating. It may also increase the risk of developing other medical conditions such as heart disease or stroke.
Iron is important for the production of hemoglobin, a protein in the blood that carries oxygen around your body.
Hemoglobin levels may drop after delivery due to increased bleeding and decreased absorption of nutrients from food.
Foods high in iron include red meat, poultry, eggs, legumes, fortified breakfast cereals and supplements.
To maximize absorption of dietary iron, eat them with vitamin C sources such as citrus fruits or juices.
In addition, taking an iron supplement may help restore hemoglobin levels and alleviate postpartum pain and fatigue symptoms.
Omega 3 fatty acids are important in hormonal balance as they are anti-inflammatory.
Sources of healthy fats include coconut oil, avocados, almonds, and seeds.
Omega 3s reduce the signs of hormonal imbalance such as PMS, mood swings, breast tenderness and more.
Leafy greens are rich in vitamins and minerals including B vitamins which can improve ovulation and correct luteal phase defect.
Leafy greens are great sources of magnesium which supports hormone production and helps clear excess estrogen.
Green leafy veggies such as kale, spinach, collards or turnip greens are great choices for meals or as additions to smoothies
Cruciferous vegetables are detoxifiers and have powerful nutrients that help with the excretion of excess estrogen.
Cruciferous vegetables also contain a substance that blocks aromatase which prevents the conversion of androgen into estrogen.
Foods Rich in Zinc
Zinc is important for immune system function and is required to help produce follicle-stimulating hormone and progesterone.
The Effect of Estrogen Imbalance on Other Hormones
Estrogen dominance is a condition in which estrogen levels are high, leading to problems with other hormones.
If estrogen levels are too high or too low, it can throw the rest of the hormones off balance. This can lead to a number of conditions, including weight gain, extreme fatigue, anxiety and depression, PMS and PCOS.
Signs and Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance
Signs and symptoms of estrogen dominance include:
– Irregular menstrual cycles or infertility
– Excessive facial and body hair growth
– Early menopause
– Breast pain and tenderness
– Excessive weight gain around the waist and hips
– Unexplained depression, anxiety, or irritability
– Bloating after meals
These symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, so it is important to visit your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
How Can Postpartum Hormonal Imbalance Lead to Postpartum Depression Syndrome?
Postpartum hormonal imbalance can cause postpartum depression in women. A hormonal imbalance can cause the brain to be flooded with too much or too little of a certain hormone. This can cause a woman to experience a wide range of symptoms including depression and anxiety.
Hormonal imbalance after childbirth is caused by a number of factors, including the increase in estrogen levels.
This can lead to symptoms such as mood swings, irritability, anxiety, and a change in appetite.
Understanding the symptoms of change in hormone levels postpartum is important for taking care of yourself.
Making changes to your daily life and seeking advice from your doctor can help make things easier for you.
Treatment with antidepressants and counseling can help alleviate the disorder.
Good food, regular exercises, yoga, and meditation can also help in recovery.
How long does it take for hormones to balance after pregnancy?
It usually takes about 6 to 8 weeks for the hormones to balance out after pregnancy. However, this can take even longer for breastfeeding women. Estrogen and progesterone are the main postpartum hormones and they need to be in balance for a woman to feel her best.
There are a few things that can be done to ease the symptoms.
First, making some changes to daily life can help. For example, getting plenty of rest and eating a healthy diet.
Additionally, consulting with a doctor can be helpful in finding the best treatment plan for you.
Exercising, being mindful of the foods that you eat, and drinking plenty of water are just a few simple changes you can introduce into your routine.
Knowing how to balance hormones after pregnancy can truly change your life, but make sure you speak to your doctor first!