ARC Blog

Demystifying and Healing from Postpartum Anxiety

Eyes filling with tears, Mary recounted to me the symptoms that prompted her to call the office.

Ever since she was born I’ve had terrible anxiety. We wanted a baby so badly but the panic and anxiety after having her has been unbearable. I feel fluttery and shaky and my stomach is always upset. I can’t leave the house anymore and I keep my 6-month-old daughter cooped up in the house all the time; I feel like a terrible mom. I am not an angry person but I’m on edge all the time and catch myself yelling a lot. I have panic attacks where I have to put her in her crib and I lock myself in the bathroom and cry. The doctors say my labs are fine and they recommended counseling and medications. I want to keep nursing and so I’m afraid of medications. I just don’t know where to turn.”

Most people have heard of the baby blues, but we also need to talk about other symptoms that can arise after giving birth to a child. This can include: depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and even psychosis. Mary is suffering from a condition called Postpartum Anxiety. Postpartum anxiety affects at least 17% of women (1) and symptoms can range from mild to severe and debilitating.

There are many different causes of postpartum anxiety and treating the root cause will not only help relieve the anxiety, but improve your overall health and prevent future occurrences of anxiety and/or depression.

In this article I will share with you my top three solutions for postpartum anxiety. These will work best when used in conjunction with fabulous counseling with a clinician you trust, and optimal medical care from your local physician.

Dr. Cain’s Top 3 Postpartum Anxiety Solutions:

Liver Support

Your liver is the control center when it comes to regulating your hormones and impacting detoxification. During the postpartum period, hormone levels working towards equilibrium and these fluctuations can contribute to or cause depression and anxiety. Supporting your liver can facilitate this process. My favorite supplements for the liver are: Selenium, Alpha Lipoic Acid, and Milk Thistle.

Heal the Gut

Did you know that 95% of your serotonin is made in your gut? This is why our digestive health often ebbs and flows in connect with our emotional well-being. Healing the gut will profoundly impact not only your mood, but it will also increase your energy, motivation, improve sleep and help eliminate that brain fog. My favorite ways to heal the gut are to take out foods that are pro-inflammatory (breads, sugars, alcohol), and to focus more on whole foods, healthy fats, and proteins. I also typically recommend a good broad spectrum probiotic and digestive enzymes if needed. To learn more about how to eat to heal your gut go to

Natural Anxiolytics

The word anxiolytic means to reduce or eliminate anxiety. Many mothers who are nursing are reluctant to take pharmaceutical medications because of the risk of the drug passing into the breast milk. But don’t fret! There are wonderful, effective natural options that might just be the ticket to helping you feel more calm and relaxed. Here my top favorite recommendations: (Remember, always talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement, diet, or medication)

  • Rescue Remedy: These flower essences by Bach Flower are safe to take all day and you can get them dispensed as lozenges or in a liquid.
  • L-Theanine: This is my favorite go-to for anxiety. Some people do quite nicely on 100 mg but I’ve given my patients upwards of 400 mg if the anxiety is more acute.
  • Homeopathy: An effective and a well- prescribed remedy by a trained physician is more powerful than any other medicine I have encountered.
  • Scutellaria lateriflora: This wonderful little herb is considered by the eclectics to be a safe herb to take for anxiety while the mother is nursing. I like to recommend the alcohol-free extract and typically mothers take 3 dropperfuls up to 3 times per day.

As always, talking to someone who is compassionate, trained and available can be profoundly impactful. Here is a must-know resource: The Postpartum Support International Phone Number: 800- 994-4PPD (4773). You are not alone and you can feel like yourself again. The body is incredibly effective at healing itself and all it needs is the right guidance and support.

Author Bio
Dr. Nicole Cain, ND MA is the only Naturopathic Doctor that also has a Master’s in Clinical Psychology with an expertise in integrative and natural solutions for anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, PTSD, Women’s Libido issues and other conditions. 
Dr. Cain is the founder of the Anxiety Breakthrough Program, a 9 week online program providing in depth techniques for anxiety relief. To learn more about Dr. Cain go to Office Phone: 877-339-3295. She sees clients in person and remotely via phone and VSee.
(1) Ian M. Paul, Danielle S. Downs, Eric W. Schaefer, Jessica S. Beiler, Carol S. Weisman. Postpartum Anxiety and Maternal-Infant Health Outcomes. Published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. (March 04, 2013) doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-2147. Retrieved from:

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and happenings around ARC.

You have Successfully Subscribed!