Postpartum Depression - Address and Prevent with Fish Oil

Published: October 24, 2012


To prevent or address postpartum depression, consider:

  1. Fish oil 1-2 tsp a day during pregnancy and 1 tablespoon a day after till depression lifts.
  2. Bioidentical Progesterone (from a holistic physician).
  3. Take a good multivitamin powder.
  4. Optimize thyroid hormone with prescription Armour thyroid—even if blood levels are "normal."
  5. Walk at least 30 minutes a day outside in the sun.

In an 8-week, randomized, dose-ranging pilot trial involving 16 mothers with postpartum depression, supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids was found to have a beneficial effect. Subjects were randomized into 3 groups that received varying dosages of omega-3 fatty acids. Six subjects consumed 0.5 grams per day, 3 subjects consumed 1.4 grams per day, and 7 subjects consumed 2.8 grams per day. For all 3 groups, the depression scores dropped by around 50%.1

In another study of 24 women with major depression during pregnancy given fish oil (~ 1 tsp) or placebo for 8 weeks, the fish oil was significantly more effective than placebo (remember, Prozac overall is not significantly more effective than placebo).2

A third large, multi-country observational study of postpartum depression found that eating more seafood was associated with a lower risk of postpartum depression.3

In addition to fish oil, be sure thyroid levels are optimized ("within normal limits" is not enough). Adding NATURAL BIO-IDENTICAL progesterone (NOT synthetic Provera, which I feel is dangerous) can also help, as can overall nutritional support with a good multivitamin powder. For example, those with optimal levels of vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) had half the risk of developing postpartum depression.4


  1. "Randomized dose-ranging pilot trial of omega-3 fatty acids for postpartum depression," Freeman MP, Hibbeln JR, et al, Acta Psychiatr Scand., 2006; 113(1): 31-5.
  2. "Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Major Depressive Disorder During Pregnancy: Results From a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial," Su KP, Huang SY, et al, J Clin Psychiatry, 2008, Mar 18;
  3. "Hibbeln JR. Seafood consumption, the DHA content of mother's milk and prevalence rates of postpartum depression: a cross-national, ecological analysis." J Affect Disord. 2002;69:15-29.
  4. "Dietary folate and vitamins B(12), B(6), and B(2) intake and the risk of postpartum depression in Japan: The Osaka Maternal and Child Health Study," Miyake Y, Sasaki S, et al, J Affect Disord., 2006 June 29; [Epub ahead of print]. 
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