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Handling Your Hormones After Pregnancy

Bringing a baby into this world means instant changes for you, your spouse and your family. Yet one of those changes that new moms are unprepared to deal with are the hormonal fluctuations that occur post birth. It seems logical that once the baby comes, the pregnancy hormones shift and mood swings will be done, but it doesn’t happen quite that quickly. Knowing what to expect can help those rocky first few weeks feel just a little less overwhelming.

Handling Your Hormones After Pregnancy

What Is Happening in Your Body?

Before you can deal with postnatal hormones, you must first understand them. During pregnancy, your body had a high level of both oestrogen and progesterone. Within a week of giving birth, those levels will quickly drop to non-pregnant levels. This is a fast drop in hormones, and can cause extreme mood swings. For many women, it can create a period of “baby blues” and contribute to true postpartum depression.

If you are nursing your baby, the nursing experience will also cause the release of hormones, specifically prolactin and oxytocin. The prolactin stimulates milk production, while the oxytocin causes the milk sacs and ducts, as well as your uterus, to contract. The oxytocin can also help create feelings of bliss while nursing, which can improve the other symptoms of hormone changes during the postnatal period.

With all of these changes, it’s no wonder that new moms often feel as if they are on an emotional roller coaster. Here are some strategies you can use to help balance your hormones, beat the baby blues and get back on track toward good health.

Handling Your Hormones After Pregnancy

Get Some Exercise

Your postpartum body may not be ready for an intense trip to the gym, but moving will help your hormones stabilize more quickly. Put your baby in a stroller and take a quick stroll around the neighborhood. The fresh air, sunshine and exercise will boost your mood significantly. When your body is ready, add some weights, which can release positive hormones. Again, only go as far as your body allows, and talk to your doctor about your limitations, but don’t be afraid to start some exercise.

Handling Your Hormones After Pregnancy

Handling Your Hormones After PregnancyEat the Right Foods

Eat a diet rich in whole foods to support your hormones nutritionally as you recover. Before you laugh and say that the last thing you have time to do is cook after having a baby, remember that whole foods can be as simple as a piece of fruit, which requires no prep at all. The more fruits and veggies that you can eat, the better your hormone levels will be.

With that in mind, avoid polyunsaturated fats, which are found in margarine and shortening. These have a direct impact on the endocrine system and can throw your hormonal balance off even more. Also, ditch the white processed carbohydrates in favor of complex carbohydrates that support sustained energy.

Handling Your Hormones After Pregnancy

Be Careful with Coffee

Telling a sleep-deprived mom to avoid caffeine is like telling a goldfish to stay out of the water, but be careful with coffee and other caffeinated drinks. Caffeine elevates cortisol levels, impacts estrogen levels and can interfere with the function of the thyroid. While the caffeine will give you an energy boost, it often comes with an energy crash, which is damaging to hormones.

Handling Your Hormones After Pregnancy

Add the Right Supplements

Don’t stop taking your prenatal supplements now that you have given birth. Nursing moms and moms recovering from childbirth need the nutritional support that these supplements provide. Make sure that the supplements include omega 3s and vitamin D.


Manage Stress

Having a newborn brings natural stress, but try to manage other stress triggers well. Avoid unnecessary outside stresses that can increase cortisol levels, and manage your stress with deep breathing and relaxation techniques. The better your stress hormone levels are, the better your body will be equipped to deal with fluctuating pregnancy hormones.


New parenthood is a special time in the life of every mom. As you spend some time bonding with your baby, be prepared for some hormonal challenges. With these tips, you will be able to manage those changes well as you build a lasting bond with your precious little one.


About the Author:
Cheretta A Clerkley works at Hormone Health Network as a strategic marketing health care professional. Cheretta and her team focus on helping clients understand and control their hormones.

Handling Your Hormones After Pregnancy

Wife. Mom. Believer. Writer. Advocate.

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[…] only 15 percent of them received treatment, according to the American Psychological Association. Postpartum depression is characterized by extreme feelings of sadness, anxiety and exhaustion that can threaten the wellbeing of moms, babies and their […]

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