Postpartum Concerns

Four Common Postpartum Concerns: Not Always Normal

Whoever your primary care provider is during your pregnancy, they will likely warn you about common postpartum concerns. These are symptoms to expect that may happen normally and healthily – like hair loss or feeling very tired. However, there is a fine line between what’s an expected reaction and what could be caused by an underlying imbalance or concern that might require intervention sooner rather than later. Here are some symptoms to look out for:

  1. Fatigue: Of course with a significant lack of sleep and recovery from either vaginal or Caesarean birth, your body will be tired. However, ongoing exhaustion or prolonged fatigue can be a sign of thyroid imbalances, adrenal concerns, or nutrient deficiencies. These often get overlooked and many new moms get dismissed. 
  2. Hair loss: Increased progesterone during pregnancy reduces hair loss, so when progesterone levels start to come down postpartum, women start shedding the hair that their bodies held onto. It often seems like significant hair loss, but it’s actually just the hair that normally would have been shed over the pregnancy period. This should regulate within about three months, though. If it is taking longer to return to normal, or if there are abnormalities in the hair loss (e.g. excessive hair breakage, particular areas of hair loss, complete bald spots, or change in texture), then more questions (and labs!) should be asked.
  3. Low mood or nervousness: With sleep deprivation often comes a bit of irritability, and that’s expected. Changing levels of hormones can also take a drastic toll in the first little bit postpartum. Typically, these should be dissipating with time, usually within about 1-2 weeks after birth. If they’re very severe or just not improving, you should reach out for extra support. Postpartum depression and/or anxiety are incredibly common, but are often missed (again – new moms being written off too frequently).
  4. Difficulty losing weight: Depending on your hormones, and even if you’re breastfeeding or not, returning to your pre-pregnancy weight may be difficult. There are many factors at play here, but if you’re hitting a wall with your weight loss despite all the baselines in place (e.g. activity levels, caloric intake, etc.), then that may be a sign of something else going on in your body. 

No matter your postpartum concerns, it’s always good to run your questions by your trusted medical provider. They can help inform you on what’s normal and healthy or what (and when) things should be evaluated further. Although usually most of the focus at this time is on babe’s well-being, make sure to take the time to evaluate how you’re feeling in your own body. The better you take care of yourself, the more you’ll be able to give to your babe!

Dr Laura Smith ND

Written by Dr. Laura Smith, Naturopathic Doctor. Dr Laura has a clinical focus in women’s health including fertility and pre/postnatal health. She currently lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Disclaimer – Everything shared is for informative purposes only. It is not intended for assessment, diagnosis or treatment purposes. If you feel there needs to be further investigation, please seek out a qualified health care professional for a proper assessment.