February 17, 2016
Postpartum Depression:
Getting Beyond the New Baby Blues

According to the CDC, up to 19% of women report frequent postpartum depressive symptoms. Postpartum depression (PPD) is diagnosed as a major depressive episode emerging within 6-12 weeks of delivery, but can happen any time up to one year after birth. Despite the high prevalence of PPD, up to half of cases remain undiagnosed or untreated.

The symptoms of PPD can include: depressed mood, lack of interest in activities, insomnia or hypersomnia, loss of energy, low libido, change in appetite, significant weight loss or weight gain, reduced self-confidence, difficulty concentrating, and even suicidal ideation. However, receiving a diagnosis of PPD is difficult, as fatigue, changes in sleep patterns, appetite, libido and weight fluctuations are often observed in the normal postpartum period.

It is critical to identify and treat PPD because of the deleterious effects on mother, infant and other family members. There is clear evidence of an association between maternal depression and impaired child development. PPD is associated with negative effects on maternal-infant interactions such as maternal withdrawal, disengagement, and hostility. PPD also leads to poor cognitive functioning, emotional maladjustment and behavioral maladjustment in infants and children.

The etiology of PPD is unclear, but likely multifactorial, including psychosocial and biochemical changes.

There are a multitude of psychosocial factors which can contribute to PPD including pregnancy complications, stressful life events, dissatisfaction with infant feeding method, and perceived lack of support. Additionally, biochemical changes associated with the postpartum period also affect the development of PPD. These include nutritional deficiencies, declines in hormone and cortisol levels, and imbalances in neurotransmitter levels.

The high nutrient demands of pregnancy coupled with an inadequate intake of nutrients before pregnancy can lead to nutrient depletion by the end of gestation. These nutrients do not easily recover in the postpartum. Nutrition is essential for normal brain activity, including the proper function and balance of neurotransmitters, which may be a key element in the connection between nutrition and depression. Common nutrient deficiencies in the postpartum period include: omega 3 fatty acids, folate and vitamin B12, zinc, magnesium, iron and copper.

Research has shown that the rapid decrease in hormone levels (typically estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone) can contribute to PPD. Additionally, cortisol levels in the postpartum period are greatly decreased from pregnancy levels. This rapid drop in hormone levels also influences neurotransmitter secretion, with the postpartum period being considered a state of serotonin deficiency. Additionally, having sufficient GABA levels is essential, as GABA attenuates stress and anxiety and promotes mother-infant bonding.

If hormonal and/or neurotransmitter imbalances are suspected as contributory to your patient’s PPD, consider a NeuroHormone Complete Panel. PPD can have a significant impact on the lives of women and their families. If your patient is exhibiting signs, do not delay. When developing your treatment strategy, consider all areas of potential depletion: nutrients, hormones, cortisol and neurotransmitters – and begin or augment treatment based on test results.

To learn more about the neuroendocrine connection, including testing and treatment procotols, attend a Labrix Core Training. You'll learn more about neurotransmitter and hormone optimization from Labrix staff physicians in an intimate class setting. These trainings are located conveniently around the country. Visit Labrix' events page to register for a live training today!

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Depression among women of reproductive age. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/depression/. Accessibility verified September 17, 2015.
  • Etebary, S, et al. Postpartum depression and the role of serum trace elements. Iran J Psychiatry 2010;5:2:40-46.
  • Pearlstein T. Perinatal depression: treatment options and dilemmas. J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2008 Jul;33(4):302-318.
  • Skalkidou A; Hellgren C; Comasco E; Sylven S; Poromaa IS. Biological Aspects of Postpartum Depression. Medscape: Women’s Health. 2012;8(6): 659-671.
  • Archer JSM. Estrogen and mood change via CNS activity. Menopausal Med. 1999;7(4):4-8.
  • McKuen BS, Alves BS. Estrogen action in the central nervous system. Endocrin Rev .1999;20:279-307.

Labrix Clinical Spotlight Series:
Sexual Dysfunction in Women

Staff Physician Robyn Kutka discusses clinical approaches to identifying and treating sexual dysfunction in women as a part of our Labrix Clinical Spotlight Series

Labrix Core Training

Join the hundreds of practitioners who have attended Labrix live training events and learn more about these exciting opportunities directly from a Labrix attendee and Dr. Jay Mead, Medical Director and co-founder of Labrix.

Core Training:
Atlanta, GA
March 5, 2016

Labrix will be conducting the annual Core Training in Atlanta. Registration is $150 and upon completing this one day training, you will receive a $100 credit on your testing account. Register for Atlanta Core Training today.

Core Training:
Chicago, IL
October 8, 2016

Can't make it to Atlanta? Labrix staff physicians will be in Chicago on October 8th to present Core Training. Registration is $150 and upon completing this one day training, you will receive a $100 credit on your testing account. Register for Chicago Core Training today.

New York, NY
February 26-27, 2016

Labrix Account Representative Tom Lasota will be exhibiting at the Integrative Health Symposium in February. Swing by our booth to find out what's new with Labrix in 2016.

Irving, TX
March 31-April 2

Come visit the Labrix booth at the American Academy of Environmental Medicine conference in Irving, Texas, this spring.

Scottsdale, AZ
April 21-24, 2016

Labrix will be in Arizona for the SHEICON conference on April 21-24. Come chat with the our booth representative and learn more about testing with Labrix.