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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!
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