Top 5 Tips for Balancing Hormones Postpartum
Megan Tantillo, BSN, RN
Estrogen dominance related symptoms are common during the postpartum period. This is because throughout pregnancy, hormones estrogen and progesterone are at an all time high, which is essential to maintain a healthy pregnancy.
After birth however, hormones drop off rather quickly. Within the first week postpartum, hormones are back to pre-pregnancy baseline which understandably, can cause hormonal symptoms and sometimes, extreme emotional changes.
Post delivery is the single most drastic hormonal shift a women will experience in her lifetime. Breastfeeding welcomes more hormonal changes.
Keep in mind if you are breastfeeding, cycles may be irregular or nonexistent for a year or more, meaning, without ovulation, you aren’t producing progesterone, the calming counterpart to estrogen.
Also important to note that stress management plays a huge role in hormone balance. Even the most prepared mothers struggle with sleep, anxiety surrounding new baby and familial role changes, stress related to going back to work, maintaining a household, etc.
Stress disrupts ovulation which again, impedes progesterone production and allows estrogen to creep higher and higher causing unwanted symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance
Weight gain, mostly in the hips, waist, and thighs*
Bloating or water retention*
Heavy, painful periods*
Loss of sex drive
Headaches or migraines*
*Most common symptoms I see in my practice.
As you may already know, I am a nurse with a private practice specializing in women’s wellness, gut health and fertility. I work with women 1:1 and also teach The Period Fix eCourse helping women discover root cause of hormonal symptoms and regulate cycles naturally using holistic interventions such as dietary and lifestyle change.
Inside the course I teach what I consider to be the 4 pillars of natural hormone balance:
Heal the gut
Balancing blood sugar
Top 5 tips for Balancing Hormones Naturally Postpartum
Take a high-quality prenatal. It takes an incredible amount of nutritional resources to conceive, carry and deliver a baby. A prenatal is essential to ensure your body is getting all the micronutrients it needs for optimal hormone balance.
Heal your gut. Do you struggle with gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation? If so, you want to start here first. Estrogen is carried out through the bowel so it is absolutely essential you poop every single day girlfriend. Dysbiosis, or a microbial imbalance in your gut can also contribute to hormone imbalance, so be sure to talk to your provider about how to correct underlying gut infections - they are more common than you think!
Practice a daily detox ritual. The liver packs up estrogen and metabolizes it through 3 different pathways, some of which are more protective than others. Estrogen detoxification can get a bit complicated however, just know your liver is a major player in hormone balance. Be sure you are eating enough protein, taking a high-quality B-complex vitamin, and eating cruciferous vegetables daily. My client’s love Holistic Health Code’s Daily Detox Shake.
Balance your blood sugar like it is your job! Do not sleep on this practice. Extreme highs and lows are stressful on the body. Remember, stress disrupts ovulation which prevents progesterone production. Focus on fiber, fat, protein and greens at each meal.
Lastly, stress management, perhaps the most difficult step for my clients. My highest recommendation - say no. Stay in. It’s ok to pass on plans because your mental health needs some TLC. I also love adaptogenic herbs and magnesium at night is your new BFF.
OK, I lied. 6 tips. Ask for help! And if you aren’t getting the care you need from your provider, see or ask someone else!
This article was originally written in collaboration with Lynzy&Co.
Megan Tantillo BSN, RN, founder of Holistic Health Code, is on a mission to provide accessible holistic care and education for all. Megan is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Nursing Practice with special interest in women's health and telehealth technologies.