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Wondering what Postnatal Depletion looks like? Insights from leader in mother care, Dr Oscar Serrallach.

Does baby brain, lethargy, baby blues, fatigue and memory troubles sound familiar?  

Leader in mother care and integrative GP, Dr Oscar Serrallach coined the term postnatal depletion after seeing scores of women present to his practice with similar symptoms. Dr Serrallach joined Drop Bio Health to discuss postnatal depletion, explore the concept of matrescence; the transition to motherhood; and talk about how postnatal depletion can even appear years after you first start your journey as a mother.  

What is postnatal depletion?

Postnatal depletion is a new and emerging concept, with research on the topic limited at this stage. The theory is that during the transition to motherhood(1), also referred to as matrescence, many significant changes occur to the mother’s physiology. As Dr Serrallach explains: “The placenta passes many nutrients to the growing baby during pregnancy, tapping into the mum’s “iron, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin B9, iodine, and selenium stores—along with omega 3 fats like DHA and specific amino acids from proteins.” It has been seen that a woman’s brain shrinks during pregnancy as it supports the growth of the baby and is socially re-engineered for parenthood”(2).

Dr Serrallach describes postnatal depletion as a postpartum syndrome of accumulated issues including deep fatigue, hyper-vigilance, and a feeling of being overwhelmed.  Symptoms stem from physiological issues, hormones, sleep disruption or deprivation, alongside psychological, mental, and emotional factors.  These are all events which can lead to the depletion of a woman’s wellbeing as explained in Dr Serrallach’s book; The Postnatal Depletion Cure.  

How do you know if you have postnatal depletion?

If the following symptoms ring a bell chances are you may have, or may be, experiencing postnatal depletion - severe fatigue, digestive issues, feeling exhausted, sensitivity to bright light, low libido and brain fog to name a few. Postnatal depletion* is different to postnatal depression, which is a much more commonly known condition.  “This is yet to be recognised as a condition or syndrome in the medical world but as we all know this is very much part of the reality of many mothers with young children”.

Dr Serrallach’s firmly held belief is that there is nothing more important than the health and well-being of mothers – when mothers are happy, healthy, and rested, our families benefit, our communities benefit and society benefits.  

While the science behind postnatal depletion is still emerging, it remains important to always consult your personal health practitioner for the best advice for your individual needs and maintaining pregnancy health.

Want to learn more about Postnatal Depletion? Check out our Postnatal Depletion Series with Dr Oscar Serrallach.

After an incredible event with Dr Oscar Serrallach on Postnatal Depletion, we had numerous questions from our WellBeing community on the subject, which we put to Dr Serrallach over a series of Q&As. All of these are available exclusively in your WellBeing membership.

Included in the postnatal depletion video series:

  • Postnatal Depletion: What it is and How to Recover
  • Q&A on Signs and Symptoms
  • Q&A on Inflammation
  • Q&A on Supplements
  • Q&A on Diet
  • Q&A on Breastfeeding
  • Q&A on Practitioner Support

*Postnatal depletion is a new and emerging concept, with research on the topic limited at this stage. As always, remember to consult your personal health practitioner for the best advice for your individual needs.

References

  1. Jodi L. Pawluski, Ming Li, Joseph S. Lonstein, Serotonin and motherhood: From molecules to mood, Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology, Volume 53, 2019
  2. Pawluski J, L: Perinatal Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor Exposure: Impact on Brain Development and Neural Plasticity. Neuroendocrinology 2012;

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