Michelle Price Judge and Cheryl Tatano Beck

Summary Postpartum depression is the number one complication of childbirth [1], and healthcare providers need to have a keen understanding of the disorder in order to provide support and advice. In the first portion of this chapter, the prevalence and onset of postpartum depression is discussed, with a consideration for risk factors that have been associated with the disorder. Within this context, there is a discussion of how postpartum depression affects the mother, the mother-infant relationship, and infant development. Detection of postpartum depression is key to treatment, making repeated screening throughout the first year postpartum highly important.

Nutrition plays an integral and complex role in the brain. Nutrients provide structural substrates and serve as cofactors in many biological reactions. There are wide varieties of nutrients that are attributed to having a role in normal function. To name a few, the macronutrients, B vitamins and some trace minerals have been noted as factors integral to central nervous system (CNS) function. In order to describe the important role of nutrients in mental health it is important to first discuss general principles of CNS anatomy and physiology including nerve impulse conduction, neuroanatomy relating to mood and emotions, and the role of neurotransmitters in the brain. The latter section of this chapter outlines the potential role of key nutrients in postpartum depression with practical nutritional strategies for the postpartum period. This chapter closes with a discussion of the current literature related to breastfeeding and postpartum depression.

Keywords: Postpartum depression, screening scale

New Mothers Guide to Breast Feeding

New Mothers Guide to Breast Feeding

For many years, scientists have been playing out the ingredients that make breast milk the perfect food for babies. They've discovered to day over 200 close compounds to fight infection, help the immune system mature, aid in digestion, and support brain growth - nature made properties that science simply cannot copy. The important long term benefits of breast feeding include reduced risk of asthma, allergies, obesity, and some forms of childhood cancer. The more that scientists continue to learn, the better breast milk looks.

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