Post Natal Depression (PND)

During the third trimester of pregnancy Progesterone is produced at a rate of 3-400mg per day. There are marked alterations of the binding sensitivity of brain GABA receptors in pregnancy and during the postpartum period. This is linked directly to psychological changes accompanying these states. The metabolically stable anxiolytic steroids of Progesterone appear to be very specific and effective in alleviating both mild and severe cases of both postpartum depression and premenstrual syndrome depression. 

After the birth of a child 80 percent of women will experience the maternity blues for upto 2 weeks postpartum, with 1 in 10 women developing symptoms of Postnatal illness that she is unable to control. These symptoms can include:postnatal depression

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Hotflushes/Night sweats
  • Tearfulness/Irritability
  • Rejection of longed for baby
  • Low energy levels
  • Foggy thinking
  • Low libido
  • Heart palpitations
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations

After the baby is born the placenta (which produces Progesterone) is also delivered, and there is a sudden alteration in the levels of all hormones. The new mother must abruptly adjust to the complete absence of Progesterone after a nine month continuous and plentiful supply (300 to 400mgs produced in the third trimester of pregnancy). It is suggested that some women find this alteration of Progesterone level difficult to tolerate. Progesterone is your anti- stress, anti-anxiety hormone and hence the development of postnatal depression. Evidence suggests this is especially the case for women in their thirties and forties.

If there is a family history of PND ie mother or sister, or women have experienced PND previously there is a 68% chance of recurrence in subsequent pregnancies. An international trial of prophylactic (giving Progesterone to mothers prior to the onset of PND symptoms) Progesterone has shown that it is possible to reduce the recurrence rate to 7% thus saving the whole family the trauma of PND and the need for Mothers to cease breastfeeding in order to begin antidepressants.

While this is commonly known as Postnatal depression (PND), it is more accurate to call it Postnatal Illness (PNI), because depression is not necessarily present, nor is it the main symptom. Unfortunately, due to low levels of Progesterone in both conditions, women who have had PMS (Premenstrual syndrome) are prone to develop PNI, but the good news is that PNI can be prevented and/or effectively treated with natural progesterone supplementation. It is also safe to take whilst breastfeeding and in fact enhances lactation.

It is essential to also be taking a good Multivitamin and Mineral as Vitamins B3, 6, 9, and Zinc, Magnesium, Omega-3, Iodine and Selenium are critical for a healthy emotional state.

Click Here to read client's stories on Post Natal Depression 


Dalton K. (1999) Once a Month. Salt Lake City, UT. Publishers Press.
Martin R, Gerstung J. (2005) The Estrogen Alternative. (4th Ed). New York, NY. Bear & Company
Lee J.R. (1999) What your Doctor may not tell you about Premenopause. New York, NY. Little, Brown & Co.
Majewska MD et al Brain Research 482 (1989) 397-401. Pregnancy induced alterations of GABAa receptor sensitivity in the maternal brain: an antecedent of postpartum blues

Study: Hormone Injection Prevents Preemies

Doctors Give High-Risk Women Progesterone Injections

Updated: 10:10 a.m. EST February 7, 2003

BOSTON – More and more women are giving birth to preemies, and now, there finally may be the first effective treatment to stop babies from being born too soon.

happy healthy babyInjections of the common hormone progesterone worked so well in women at high risk of giving birth early, that a large study was stopped early and the results were made known Thursday. In the last decade, the number of babies born before their time has increased 27 Percent.

Now doctors may have a new weapon.

“It really has the potential to represent an unbelievably important breakthrough,” Massachusetts General Hospital Dr. Fredric Frigoletto Said.

Researchers gave 306 high-risk women – those with a history of early delivery – weekly injections of Progesterone. Another 153 women got a placebo. They found the hormone reduced the risk of Premature birth by 34 percent. Experts in the field said that the results are surprising. “This is very significant, and the intervention is fairly easy to apply and not very expensive” Frigoletto said.

Researchers believe progesterone is safe for use during pregnancy, as it has been safely used to treat infertility for many years.

While there is no known cause for most premature births, the rise could be due to more older women having babies and the epidemic of obesity. Experts said: “Babies born prematurely are at increased risk for neurological, hearing and behavioural problems.” So prevention is key, and soon doctors may be offering those at risk of premature birth a new option

“We have 4 million births a year, 10 or 11 percent are preterm. If is stands the test of scrutiny then I think it will become standard of practice,” Frigoletto said

Progesterone injections were toyed with in the 60’s and 70’s as a means to prevent early birth, but its effectiveness was never really studied.
The results of the study, which was conducted in 19 sites around the country, were announced Thursday at a national meeting of obstetricians in San Francisco.

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