PRESCOTT After Jeanine Woods gave birth to her second son, Sam, this past July she experienced some scary feelings she didn't like Sam very much and she didn't want to do anything.
Sam didn't seem to like it when his mom cuddled him or held him close, and Woods felt like everything was getting too hard to do. He cried all the time, and she felt guilty for not adoring him like she did her other son, Jack, now 4.
Seven months later, Woods calls herself "a different mother," and attributes her turnaround to a product called Prolief, a natural progesterone cream the skin and healthcare line Arbonne International created.
A couple of months ago, she sought help from her doctor, who recommended that she take antidepressants. Afraid to pass the medicine to Sam through breast milk, Jeanine decided to try Prolief, which she'd seen in her Arbonne catalog.
Progesterone is one of two hormones (the other is estrogen) the ovaries produce during a woman's menstrual cycle. The levels of both hormones are high during pregnancy and drop dramatically shortly after the birth.
"Within seven days, I was a different mother," she said during a recent interview in her Prescott home, where she cradled the blue-eyed Sam on her lap.
"Within seven days, I was playing with him, cooing at him and taking photos."
She hadn't experienced the same feelings after the birth of her first son, Jack, and said, "It was hard not to adore my baby."
However, before she started using the Prolief, she didn't think anything Sam did was cute, she hoped he'd keep sleeping so she didn't have to play with him and, most of all, she hoped he'd never know how she was feeling.
The progesterone in the cream, Woods said, balances out the overabundance of estrogen that occurs as a result of the body's decreased production of progesterone and the concentrated estrogen in foods humans eat such as milk and meat (see related story).
"This fog just lifted off me," she said of her experience with the natural progesterone in Prolief.
Jeffrey Osburn, M.D., an obstetrician/gynecologist at the Prescott Women's Clinic, said, "With this area, there's a fair bit of study as to how much of this is baseline depression that up to postpartum went undetected versus is this a hormonal issue."
In some cases, he said, doctors may prescribe hormonal treatments such as progesterone or an estrogen patch to help solve the problems of postpartum depression.
However, in other cases, doctors may refer patients to psychiatrists or counselors or they may prescribe antidepressant medication.
Each patient has a different experience, he said, but the most important thing for an affected woman to do is get to a doctor as soon as she starts feeling unable to care for herself or her baby, or starts having thoughts of harming herself or her baby.
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