Postpartum Depression
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Karen Botha MAR reflexologist at Essential Feeling Gidea Park, Romford who specialises in fertility

What is PostPartum depression (PPD)?

Postpartum depression is a common illness, also called postnatal depression. PPD is depression. Depression is a mood disorder which many parents experience following the birth of their child. It’s not just limited to women, fathers experience this too. Although, one in every ten women develop postpartum depression within one year of giving birth.

Karen Botha MAR

Your Association of Reflexologist’s Therapist


Questions & Answers


Symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD)

Firstly, it’s normal to feel a bit down, tearful or anxious just after you’ve given birth. Within the first week, your hormones are all over the place and it’s difficult to behave in a balanced way with all the changes that are going on around and inside of you. They called this the baby blues (postpartum blues).

But, they don’t last long, and usually no longer than two weeks after giving birth.
If your depression symptoms start later than right away, or they last longer than two weeks, it’s a sign that you are suffering with postnatal depression which can start any time within the first year of giving birth.
*constant feeling of sadness
*lack of enjoyment/ interest in the wider world and withdrawing from contact
*low energy beyond lack of sleep
*trouble sleeping but being tired throughout the day
*difficulty bonding with your child
*issues with concentrating/ making decisions
*frightening thoughts e.g. hurting your baby

Severe postpartum depression can develop gradually so it creeps up on you. This makes it difficult to spot.


What should I do if I think I have postpartum depression (PPD)?

You should seek help as soon as possible because if you’re depressed because depression is generally common and treatable. You should do it as soon as you, or someone you love spots your symptoms because they can get worse and/ or last for months. It doesn’t matter whether you think you have the illness or not, if someone else does, it’s always worth getting a doctor to check you out because of the significant impact it may have on you and your baby as well as the rest of your family.

Your doctor should be able to help, but if you’d prefer a more natural approach that can also work alongside traditional depression medications, then Karen at Essential Feeling may be able to help with reflexology.

The most important thing is not to struggle alone and just hope that your symptoms will disappear. Postpartum depression is a serious thing if you don’t get help.


What are the treatment options for postpartum depression?

Your doctor will advise you on medication. We can only help regarding complementary therapies. Some ladies respond well to massage because it helps them to relax and forget about the strains of being a new mom.

However, personally we’d always recommend reflexology for postpartum depression.


How does reflexology help new moms with postpartum depression (PPD)?

Reflexology uses pressure points on your feet and your hands to stimulate the balancing of different organs and systems. In this instance, your trained and AOR certified reflexologist will use acupressure to relieve tension in your head and brain and also to balance your endocrine system which is your hormonal system. In so doing, you’ll not only end up leaving like a massive weight has been lifted from your shoulders, but you’ll also usually enjoy better sleep. This alone makes a huge difference when you look at the symptoms of postpartum depression.

On top of this though, by re-balancing your hormones which is one of the many complex factors which can contribute to postpartum depression, reflexology may also, over time, help the rest of the symptoms of postnatal depression that you’re experiencing.

In addition, Karen is also a certified counsellor so during your sessions, if you wish to talk, you have a safe place within which to vent confidentially. If you’d prefer to switch off that’s fine, but particularly if you’re having thoughts about being a bad mother, Karen can help you see that you’re suffering from an illness and to help you not to judge yourself. This can also help to relieve your mental pressure.

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What are the benefits of postnatal reflexology?

While you were pregnant you expected for your bundle of joy to arrive and for you to settle seamlessly into your role as a new mom. You didn’t account for the major change your body has been through while being pregnant and then not anymore. It has a physical and emotional effect.

Reflexology’s rebalancing, harmonising and healing effects can be extremely beneficial during this period of flux.


How do I learn about postpartum depression?

If you’re looking for in depth information on postpartum depression, there are multiple resources on the web including this website (check out the blog). One good site is Tommy’s.


Is postpartum psychosis the same as postnatal depression?

No. It’s linked. But not the same. Postpartum psychosis occurs in one in a thousand women so is not as common as people who experience postpartum depression.

If you’re suffering with postpartum psychosis, you’ll be feeling excited or elated, severely depressed but with rapid mood changes and you’ll have bouts of being confused or disoriented.

Other people will more than likely pick up on this and say that you’re behaving in a restless way. They may notice you can’t sleep or concentrate well. You may also experience psychotic symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations. As with postpartum depression, it’s important to get help as soon as possible even if you’re not certain you’re suffering with this condition directly.

Foot map showing some of the main reflexology points in different colours
reflexology romford

Postnatal reflexology benefits:

*Emotional support, including easing anxiety and postnatal depression within a confidential environment with a certified counsellor
*Rebalancing your hormones, and regulating moods
*Helps with production of breast milk, easing feeding discomfort
*Boosts your immunity and energy levels
*Relaxation and ‘me time’ (it’s okay to feel you need this)
*Helps any digestive problems and constipation
*Eases you to regulate your sleep and get a better quality when you can close your eyes
*Assists the body heal quicker by increasing blood flow to those organs
Taking good care of yourself means you are also providing great care for your baby.




I don’t have anyone to look after my baby for me to come for postnatal reflexology.

Don’t worry. Bring your baby with. It’s common for them to pick up on your relaxation and sleep on you during your session. This turns into a lovely bonding time for you both to enjoy. I can also show you some reflexology techniques to use on your baby if you’d like too.


What causes postpartum depression?

There are some factors which mean you are more at risk from postnatal depression:
*mental health especially depression earlier in life or during pregnancy
*lack of close family support
*poor relationship with your partner
*giving birth combined with recent stressful life event e.g. bereavement


What can I do to prevent postpartum depression and anxiety?

There are studies which have been conducted demonstrating that maintaining a healthy lifestyle and exercising, even lightly, can help. Indeed, the NHS states that reflexology throughout pregnancy is known to be accumulative and has shown to help prevent postnatal depression.

Nothing is certain though and sometimes there isn’t a reason for why we are struck by an illness. This is no different.

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Want an appointment today?

If you’d like to book in with Karen, our qualified MAR reflexologist who specialises in all things fertility, maternity and beyond, then please use the online booking form below or for a more immediate appointment (within 24 hours) then she’s happy for you to text her on 07757 9460230

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We’ll send over everything you need including consultation form and directions.

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