Episode 3: Dr. Lisa’s Postpartum Journey: How to navigate postpartum anxiety, burn-out, weight gain and insomnia

In this episode, Dr. Lisa shares her postpartum experience that included breastfeeding challenges, insomnia, postpartum anxiety, burnout, fatigue, and weight gain. Many of you may be able to relate to what she went through.  She also discusses the importance of appropriate hormone testing in the postpartum period and shares which natural therapies helped her to sleep better, feel better and manage her weight.

We want to remind you what perimenopause is all about, just in case this is a completely new word for you. You may already know that menopause is when you stop having a period for at least one year.

Perimenopause is the transition period before menopause. It can involve different symptoms of hormonal imbalance and can happen anywhere from 5 to 15 years before you stop having periods.

Perimenopausal symptoms can include:

  • Hot flashes or night sweats
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Unpredictable periods 
  • Heavy or lighter menstrual flow
  • Worsening of PMS
  • Mood changes such as anxiety and irritability
  • Weight gain and metabolism issues

Dr. Lisa had a healthy pregnancy but did suffer from common food aversions, nausea and fatigue in the first trimester.

She laboured at home for 24 hours without sleep and time to rest beforehand, since Stuart decided to come early! Unfortunately, he was in an unfavourable position (“sunny-side up”, aka occiput posterior) which meant she had back labour and intense contractions.

After giving birth, things seemed to start off well, but,after a few weeks, Stuart wasn’t gaining weight. After many visits to the breastfeeding clinic, Dr. Lisa had to follow a strict feeding and pumping schedule that included the use of a lactation aid and herbs like fenugreek, blessed thistle and moringa. This led to lack of sleep, fatigue and anxiety that so many new moms suffer from. Once Stuart’s tongue-tie was identified and addressed, and she started on domperidone (a medication to support breast milk production), things improved slightly, but sleep was still an issue. And, at this point, Dr. Lisa returned to work, part-time, at her home-based Naturopathic Clinic with the support of her husband, Pete, who was on parental leave. This meant no time for naps (and if Dr. Lisa did have time to nap, she just couldn’t shut her brain off).

When her levels of postpartum anxiety, fatigue and burnout escalated; and her usual self-care practices of meditation, yoga and gratitude, eating well and taking her herbs and supplements were no longer working, Dr. Lisa sought out the care of her Naturopathic Doctor and a Psychologist.

Her Naturopathic Doctor prescribed a natural supplement to reduce her stress hormone levels and enhance sleep, which kicked in pretty quickly. She completed a blood test to assess her thyroid function and found out her thyroid wasn’t making enough of the active thyroid hormone, T3. Upon starting the lowest dose of natural dessicated thyroid, Dr. Lisa felt like herself again, although she was still having sleep issues and night sweats leading up to her period. After completing a urine hormone test (DUTCH Test – Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones) and starting bio-identical progesterone cream, she started to feel more balanced and calm, but is still struggling with good-quality sleep in the premenstrual phase, for which she is exploring further natural options.

Today’s tip: Seek out help from your Naturopathic Doctor, Medical Doctor and other health care professionals if you’re experiencing symptoms of postpartum hormone imbalance to receive proper testing and appropriate treatment. You’re not alone!

Today’s Mama Must Haves:

Dr. Lisa likes to use reusable beeswax wraps and silicon bags instead of plastic wrap and bags. They are great for storing leftovers and snacks while preventing exposure to hormone-disrupting compounds.

Get the Beeswax Wraps on Amazon.

Get the Silicon Bags on Amazon.

As an Amazon Associate Dr. Toni earns from qualifying purchases, which helps to keep this podcast up and running! 

Thank you for joining us today! 

Email us or connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5 star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Episode 2: Dr. Toni’s Fertility Journey: How working on hormone balance and mind-body connection was key for her success

In this episode, we discuss Dr. Toni’s perimenopausal symptoms before getting pregnant and how she used the following to support a successful pregnancy:

  • Lab testing
  • Herbal medicine  
  • Nutritional changes and supplements
  • Bio-identical hormones
  • Body work
  • Family Constellation Therapy
  • Principles and trainings from the Landmark Forum

In case you haven’t listened to one of our earlier episodes, we want to remind you what perimenopause is all about. 

Perimenopause is the transition period anywhere from 5 to 15 years before menopause hits. With perimenopause, you can start to experience changes in your menstrual cycle, mood and weight. 

Perimenopausal symptoms can include:
  • Weight gain and metabolism issues
  • Unpredictable periods 
  • Heavy or lighter periods
  • Worsening of PMS
  • Mood changes like anxiety and irritability
  • Hot flashes or night sweats
  • Trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Brain fog, memory issues and problems concentrating

Common hormonal imbalances during perimenopause occur with progesterone, estrogen, cortisol, testosterone and thyroid hormones.

On this episode, Dr. Toni is sharing her fertility journey. Hopefully this resonates with you and provides some inspiration. Are you a perimenopausal mama wanting to expand your family and get pregnant again? Are you a perimenopausal mama-to-be? Having kids when you’re older can be challenging. Sometimes you’re faced with pessimism from other people. For instance, you can be questioned about your goal to become pregnant by your own family doctor.

Some perimenopausal symptoms Dr. Toni dealt with before getting pregnant included:
  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Short menstrual cycles

Dr. Toni always wanted to be a mom and have kids. So, she created a 15 year plan when she was 25 years old with the end goal of having a baby by the time she was 40. However, it took some time to find the right partner who was ready to settle down and start a family. Once she did, it was time to get working on her fertility and to do some preconception preparation.

To address her physical health, she started: 
  • lengthening her short 21-24 day menstrual cycles with herbal medicine
  • eating clean as much as possible, even with major sweet tooth
  • supporting uterine health, ovary health and egg quality with antioxidant supplements like CoQ10, NAC, and an active form of folic acid called MTHF
  • addressing hormone levels with laboratory testing done on day 3 of her menstrual cycle and day 21 of her menstrual cycle
  • taking a bioidentical form of progesterone called Prometrium to treat the low progesterone associated with luteal phase defect
  • receiving bodywork like massage and abdominal visceral manipulation

Stress impacts your hormone balance and fertility. Therefore, Dr. Toni addressed the mental, emotional, spiritual and energetic aspects of health in order to reduce stress with:

  • Herbal and homeopathic medicine prescribed by her Naturopathic Doctor
  • Attending the Landmark Forum and other courses to deal with her parents’ divorce and create the intention of a loving family
  • Family Constellation therapy to address the inter-generational trauma and unrecognized grief associated with her grandmother’s death after childbirth

After 6 months on bio-identical progesterone, Dr. Toni returned to her family doctor to confirm her pregnancy with blood work! Woo hoo!

Overall, it was worth it for Dr. Toni to do the extra work to:
  • remove obstacles in the way of getting pregnant
  • address her physical health
  • work on dealing with hidden stress and issues under the surface, that are stuffed down or avoided

Not only did this help her get pregnant, it was important for dealing with postpartum challenges and being a better mom.

Today’s tip: Your thoughts change your biology. Start thinking outside of the box to uncover where your stress is coming from.

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Toni is a super big fan of topical magnesium called Epsom Gel. It can help reduce the extra stress and muscle tension in the neck, shoulders and back that happens when you’re picking up your kids, feeding them or going about your other daily activities. 

Get the Epsom Gel on Amazon.

As an Amazon Associate, Dr. Toni earns from qualifying purchases, which helps to keep this podcast up and running! 

Thank you for joining us today! 

Email us or connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. If you enjoyed this episode, we’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5 star rating.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!