Postpartum anxiety symptoms & treatment

Postpartum anxiety symptoms & treatment

It’s frustrating when your heart palpitations come to you out of the blue.

You’ve never struggled with this before.

There was a moment I was holding one of my twins, looking out the small apartment window on the second floor, and thinking; “I will never get to leave this house if I continue to breastfeed both of them.”

When I stopped breastfeeding, insomnia set in.

Picture this.

You finally stop breastfeeding, then you can’t sleep, then you struggle with fatigue, overthinking, and panic attacks.

This is postpartum anxiety.

It took me a long time to know these words: “postpartum anxiety”, trauma and triggered.

But, that’s what happens when you’re unable to regulate your nervous system.

Ask yourself, do you have any of these symptoms?

12 Signs of postpartum anxiety

  • insomnia – can’t sleep
  • heart palpitations
  • dizziness, light head
  • stomach issues
  • tight chest
  • shortness of breath
  • headache
  • sweating
  • can’t focus
  • crying spells
  • overthinking, circular thinking, or intrusive thoughts
  • exhaustion

So, what can you do about it?

First, why does postpartum anxiety happen? Here are 12 reasons..

    • insomnia
    • postpartum adrenal fatigue
    • depleted vitamins and minerals {B vitamins}
    • unresolved trauma; from birth or before and you’ve been triggered
    • unable to detoxify estrogen from your body
    • MTHFR gene
    • lack of help and/or support
    • your thyroid is off
    • your iron levels are low
    • you’re unable to regulate your nervous system
    • you live in a house with mold or did at one time

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How long does postpartum anxiety last?

It can last up to a year and then doctors tend to call it just “anxiety”, but it could be coming from an estrogen dominance that began after birth.

Postpartum Anxiety Treatment

What can you do about it?

  • get tested for the MTHFR gene and eat the foods that support your body
  • practice being present with breathing techniques and tapping
  • soothe your nervous system daily with herbs, homeopathy and warm cooked diet
  • make sleep a priority
  • learn how to remove mold spores from your body and take steps to clear your home of mold
  • write about your trauma and noticed when you get triggered

I go over these steps in The Present Momma Group training.

Zoloft for postpartum anxiety

Considering Zoloft for your anxiety? Watch this video to see my alternatives to medications

Postpartum anxiety at night

We also tend to get

Postpartum health anxiety

This is just another way for your body to protect itself. You worry about your health, and your children’s health, and then anxiety gets ramped up. At the heart of it, you want to learn how to soothe your nervous system.

Give yourself a chance to heal naturally


There are many reasons we struggle with postpartum anxiety. Know that your body can heal when you get to the root cause of this stress and overwhelm. Sometimes medication is needed for a short time until you uncover how to heal your body. If medications don’t work for you, there are many herbal remedies and holistic practices you can start doing; even if you’re breastfeeding.

xo Tara

The secret holistic practices to overcome postpartum anxiety naturally

The secret holistic practices to overcome postpartum anxiety naturally

Admit it.

You’re frustrated and distracted by your stress and anxiety.

Wouldn’t it be great..

  • If you didn’t have to worry your anxiety would get worse?
  • If you didn’t have to worry, that your children would get this?
  • If you didn’t have anxiety before your period, each and every month?
  • If you could sleep?

Picture this.

Knowing exactly how to soothe your anxiety so you can manage it every day. So you can sleep better and not worry so much.

Let me show you how I’ve overcome anxiety with holistic practices.

Approximately 6% of pregnant women and 10% of postpartum women develop anxiety. Sometimes they experience anxiety alone, and sometimes they experience it in addition to depression.

And… after a certain time, we no longer call it postpartum. We just say ” you have anxiety”.

Want to get started?

In this post, I’ll share how you can overcome postpartum anxiety with holistic practices; including herbal medicine.

So, what does postpartum anxiety feel like?

Postpartum anxiety feels like a cloud hanging over your head. There are waves of irritation and you may have a panic attack once in a while, due to this anxiety.

More commonly, moms may say they have …

  • constant worry about their children or others
  • they need to move or work and keep busy to avoid the anxiety
  • they may get sick more often
  • they also have PMS and PMS rage
  • they’re not mentally there and crave to be more present with their family

Why does postpartum anxiety happen?

Postpartum anxiety attacks

There could be many reasons postpartum anxiety happens. As a women’s herbal educator, I help moms identify why this is happening and how to fix it.

Here are some of the reasons postpartum anxiety happens:
  • Low vitamins; particularly Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Iron, Vitamin B12 & DHA
  • Lack of sleep
  • Inflammation in your gut; specifically gut dysbiosis ² Gut-brain axis
  • Your hormones. Are you in peri-menopause or have too much estrogen in your diet?
  • Your thyroid is off-hypo or hyperthyroid
  • Your nervous system is overreacting due to stress
  • Your body is not healed postpartum
  • Post-traumatic stress; unresolved anger from past events

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Postpartum anxiety treatment natural

5 holistic practices to reduce postpartum anxiety

#1 Identify your triggers

  • When you’re “triggered” you’ll feel an intense overwhelming sensation take over your body.
  • You may sweat, shake, go numb, cry, or feel like you can’t breathe.
  • Sometimes you smell, hear, think, or see something that reminds you of a traumatic event – even if you don’t remember that traumatic event!
  • For example; when I hear ambulance sirens it reminds me of my husband’s death.
  • Your goal when triggered is to calm your nervous system.

#2 Tapping for anxiety relief

#3 Get tested for the MTHFR gene

  • I’m noticing more and more of my clients have one or two of these SNAPs of the MTHFR gene.
  • When you have this, you want to avoid folic acid AND take methylated vitamins.
  • Plus, you’ll want to eat your greens every day.
  • Read the Dirty Genes book by Dr. Lynch for complete details on thriving with this gene.

Plus, have your doctor check:

  • your thyroid levels – it can go from hypo to hyperthyroid in three months!
  • Vitamins D, B6, B12, iron & DHA
  • consider healing your gut with the 4R approach

#4 Herbal remedies for anxiety relief

#5 Writing to release anxiety

What are you going to do with this one life?

  • Have you ever wondered if you have anxiety because you are suppressing something? Something that you want to say something or do?
  • Do you feel like you’re always worried about the future?
  • Writing can help you release anxiety and overcome what is bothering you.
  • 👉Action step: Begin writing. Write 100 things that you want right now. Write down 3 places you want to go. Write down what you want to do for work. Then write your perfect day out in complete detail.
  • It may seem silly, but when these dreams come true… you feel amazed.


Holistic practices can help soothe your nervous system and stop panic attacks. When you begin soothing your nervous system daily, you’ll notice your panic attacks decrease.

What has worked for you? I’d love to know. Comment below.




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Ashwagandha vs St. John’s Wort

Ashwagandha vs St. John’s Wort

Wondering if you should be taking Ashwagandha or St. John’s Wort for postpartum depression {PPD} and anxiety?

One of the biggest mistakes I made when I had PPD was just taking one herbal tincture at a time.

  • You need a COMBINATION of botanicals when you’re struggling with depression and/or anxiety.

But, wait. Don’t overdo it.

Finding a supplement that combines BOTH herbs would be best, rather than taking the full dosing of each herb alone; especially if you’re breastfeeding.

So, let’s dive in.

What are the benefits of Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha Benefits

Known to give you the strength of stallions, It’s an adaptogen, mild sedative, pain reliever, and anti-inflammatory.

  • It can re-regulate the thyroid & adrenal glands {a common concern postpartum}
  • It’s effective in helping if you have anxiety, fatigue, cloudy thinking, and insomnia
  • It’s rich in iron and can be used to treat iron deficiency when taken as a powder * see below
  • It can relieve muscle pain and cloudy thinking
  • Dosing
    • Take 4-10 ml a day for acute pain, anxiety, depression, fatigue, tired and wired, hypothyroidism, PMS, postpartum depression & stress
  • Breastfeeding safety: Category C or compatible with breastfeeding by Mills & Bones ³
  • Caution: Keep in mind, it’s not to be used during pregnancy, and caution if you’re taking medications
  • Watch this video as I discuss the difference between Ashwagandha and St. John’s Wort

Is Ashwagandha safe while Breastfeeding?

  • It’s considered a Level 1 by the German Commission E. if you’re breastfeeding. Yes, it’s safe!
  • Read this post to learn more

Ashwagandha while breastfeeding

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St. John’s Wort for PPD

  • Known as the #1 natural antidepressant
  • It’s also antiviral {herpes}, nervines, can be used topically as well as a vulnerably

Use St. John’s Wort for:

  • chronic pelvic pain
  • endometriosis
  • insomnia
  • PMS
  • perimenopause
  • vulvovaginitis
  • topically cracked nipples and perineum – Just make sure you wipe it off before breastfeeding!
  • But, if you’re taking SSRIs or other medications it is the #1 herb/drug interaction so please consult your doctor before taking

St. John’s Wort and Postpartum Depression

Is St. John’s Wort safe while Breastfeeding?

  • The German Commission E Considers it an L2/3 while breastfeeding, but there are no known contraindications
  • >>In one Study; Hyperforin was detected in low concentrations in the breast milk of moms who took 300mg of SJW 3xday starting 5 months Postpartum for Postpartum Depression and no adverse effects were found
  • Watch this video as I explain more..

What is St. John’s Wort good for?

  • good for mild/moderate depression
  • Keep in mind, that it’s not to be used during pregnancy

In Summary

Ashwagandha is more of an adaptogen and nervine; it’s great to take when you can’t sleep. It’s considered safe to take while breastfeeding. St. John’s Wort {SJW} is more for mild depression, baby blues, and monthly depression. One additional benefit is SJW, which may increase the breakdown of estrogen and therefore may boost progesterone levels – which may be affecting your sleep and postpartum recovery.

Have you tried these botanicals? I’d love to answer any questions you may have. Post them in the comment area and I’ll be sure to answer them.


Everything you need to know about postpartum depression

Everything you need to know about postpartum depression

It’s frustrating when you’re not feeling like yourself.

What if we could break through postpartum depression without medications?

Just imagine.. sleeping through the night, not yelling and crying so much. Feeling joy again.

The truth?

It takes more than herbal medicine to help you heal depression.

Don’t forget

your mental health matters

So do what you need to do, to take care of your children right now.

What’s the magic formula?

Adaptogens + nervines + therapy + gut healing


In this post, I’ll share what I’ve learned about Postpartum depression and how you can begin to heal your body; even if you’re taking medications or breastfeeding.

How does Postpartum Depression (PPD) happen?

The cause of PPD remains unknown, but some suggested reasons are…

  • The rapid changes in hormones during the postpartum period and the inability to flush them out postpartum
  • Thyroid insufficiency (The thyroid can go from Hyperthyroid to Hypothyroidism 2-5 months after birth)
  • A rapid drop in insulin levels
  • Inadequate vitamins & minerals
  • Mother-child separation and negative birth experience/trauma
  • Lack of social and emotional support
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Your gut health
  • The MTHFR gene and your ability to detoxify
You don't need more medication for postpartum depression, you need deep nourishment. - Tara Gregorio Click To Tweet

When does Postpartum Depression start?

Postpartum depression starts 2- 3 weeks after birth and can last up to a year or longer.

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8 Tips To Prevent Postpartum Depression

#1 Ask for help!

  • As my girlfriend has said: “You are becoming “superwoman”. And superwoman would ask for help.
  • It is “ok” if you can’t do this by yourself, call someone today!
  • Please, ask your friends and family for help– they want to help you.

#2 Talk about PPD with everyone

#3 Get adequate rest

  • Sleep deprivation is real – especially if you’re a mom of multiples!
  • Ask someone to watch the kids, sleep, and rest.
  • The house will be a mess, let it be.
  • You need to restore your health.

#4 Optimize nutrition

  • It has been suggested women are lacking valuable nutrients during the postpartum period.
  • When I opened my eyes after childbirth, it looked like a war zone! So much blood.
  • With that amount of blood loss, I had to restore my body with valuable vitamins.

The 6 must-have Postpartum Supplements

    1. Essential Fatty Acids – important for a healthy nervous system. It is recommended to supplement with 1-3 g/day of fish oil with DHA and EPA to reduce depression.
    2. B vitamins – needed for the growth of red blood cells, energy levels, and proper nerve function
    3. Zinc – known to boost immunity, reduce viral illnesses, and aid gut health, add Zinc to your diet to restore your overall health.
    4. Iron – A mineral vital to the proper function of hemoglobin, a protein needed to transport oxygen in the blood. Liver and red meat are the #1 sources of iron. If you are anemic, you can add in Floradix; a non-constipating, herbal iron supplement.
    5. Probiotics – If you’ve had a C-section or digestive issues, adding a probiotic 2-3 months after birth can help your body AND also reduce allergies in your child’s health. I like Klair probiotics.
    6. Magnesium – to soothe anxiety and reduce constipation

#5 Eat often to prevent insulin drops

  • Low blood sugar, can have a dramatic effect on your mood. Add healthy fat and protein with each meal.postpartumdepression

#6 Incorporate botanicals to soothe anxiety

  • Your anxiety & depression matters and it’s not going away anytime soon!
  • Learn how to use herbs when you breastfeeding, to make life easier.
    • Look for Class 1 botanicals to use if you’re breastfeeding to soothe anxiety and boost your energy. {Pin the image!}
    • A cup of Chamomile and Lemon Balm tea with a tincture of motherwort can do wonders for your stress.

Herbs for depression

  • Consider incorporating St. John’s wort if you feel comfortable. Watch this video to learn how you can add it in safely:

#7 Add adaptogens to ease sleep deprivation

#8 Integrate medications when necessary

{Please contact an emergency hotline if you are having suicidal thoughts for yourself or your children}

Is postpartum depression, baby blues?

  • There is a difference between Baby blues and postpartum depression.
  • Baby blues are considered “normal” postnatal hormonal adjustments.
  • It begins on days 3-4 and lasts up to 14 days. Symptoms include crying, irritability, fatigue, and anxiety.
The key difference between baby blues and postpartum depression? Baby blues are punctuated with periods of elation or happiness and postpartum depression is not. Click To Tweet


When does postpartum depression start?

  • PPD can begin 2-3 weeks postpartum and can last up to a year or longer.
  • Symptoms include agitation, anxiety, and panic attacks, confusion, despair, guilt, hopelessness, loneliness, nightmares, thoughts of hurting oneself or the baby.
  • There are no punctuations of happiness or elation.

Where do you go for Postpartum Depression support?

Contact: Postpartum Support International

They note:

“You can also contact our warmline directly and speak to a volunteer who will provide support, information, and resources where you live. Leave a message on our warmline 1.800.944.4773, and one of our volunteers will call you back asap. Calls are returned within 24 hours, and typically within a few hours of your request. If you are in crisis or need more immediate help…please call 911 or call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.”


Your mental health matters and there is no shame in taking medication while you work on your health. If you choose not to take medications, herbal remedies can help soothe your nervous system and ease the tension and depression in your body.

The goal is to get to the root cause of this: usually, our inability to soothe our nervous system and detoxify the hormones. Supporting your liver in clearing excessive hormones from your body will be your #1 guide to healing.

Do you have questions about healing depression? I’d love to help. Leave them in the comment area and I’ll get back to you.



  • References:
  • Romm, Aviva: Botanicals Medicine For Women’s Health
  • Fallon, Sally: Nourishing Traditions
St. John’s Wort while breastfeeding

St. John’s Wort while breastfeeding

Are you considering St. John’s Wort {SJW} for postpartum depression?

Even though It’s become the most popular alternative to pharmaceuticals for depression in Europe and the US, it’s so much more than the “depression herb”.

Let’s dive in.

Here’s my promise to you, by the end of this post you’ll understand the risk/benefit ratio and determine if SJW is right for you and the ONE person who should not take St. john’s wort.

St. John’s Wort can be useful for some types of depression, but it also has great benefits for anxiety, grief, melancholia, estrogen clearance, and numbness due to nerve pains and/or damage.

But, Is St. John’s Wort Safe While Breastfeeding?

Here are three References

#1 St. John’s Wort is considered a Level 2/3 by the German Commission E. in Dr. Aviva Romms Book; Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health¹.

  • What does that mean?
    • Level 2: Safer; Limited studies demonstrated, but no increased risk
    • Level 3: Moderately Safe; No controlled studies in breastfeeding women or controlled studies demonstrate minimal adverse effects
      • There are limited studies that show no increased risk in the child’s health. Many studies have been flawed due to the poor use of extracts or questionable preparation of the product.

:: In one study, women ingested 300 mg of St. John’s Wort a day and low levels of hyperforin were detected in breastmilk, however, no constitutes of the herbs was detectable in the babies plasma and no adverse effects were observed in either. Source

#2 Lactation and medication expert Thomas Hale & Hilary Rowe authors of Medications and Mothers milk suggest transfer to milk are minimal and appears to be safe during lactation. ¹

  • However, one infant in each group was reported to be colicky, but there was no change in milk production and weight of the infants ¹

#3 The essential guide to herbal safety by Mills & Bones considers St. John’s Wort a Lactation Category CC. Compatible with breastfeeding, but use caution. ²

  • It appears the most common side effects would be colic, drowsiness, and lethargy giving the mother a signal to stop taking the botanical

And, keep in mind.. a small percentage of women have an increase in depression when they take St. John’s Wort.

So, if you notice any adverse effects, stop taking the supplement or tincture.

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St. John’s Wort Dosing

Personally, I prefer to take SJW as a tincture.

I like to test one herb at a time. Then, when I feel comfortable, I like to use a combined tincture of SJW and nervines to soothe the nervous system.

  • Tincture Dosing: 40-60 drops; 3-4x day
  • Capsules: 300- 350mg of standardized extract 3x day {0-3% total hypericin}

St. John’s Wort Postpartum Benefits

Internally, you can take St. John’s Wort as a tincture or supplement for:

  • sciatica
  • as an antiviral to reduce cold symptoms
  • seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • menopause
  • Monthly PMS blues
  • mild/moderate depression
  • ** My favorite reason to take SJW is for detoxification to reduce excessive estrogen levels and to reduce PMS & PMDD

Externally, it has many benefits as well.

When you place the flowers in St. John’s Wort in oil, it turns red. Use this oil externally/topically for:

  • spinal/ nerve injuries due to childbirth
  • vulvodynia (vaginal pain)
  • also for first-degree burns, bruises, bites, and puncture wounds

Can you take St. John’s Wort for Postpartum depression?

Who should avoid St. John’s Wort?

SJW is well-known for enhancing liver detoxification, which reduces the blood flow of many medications.

  • Anyone taking the following medications should skip SJW for now
    • Avoid St. John’s Wort if you’re taking warfarin, digoxin, protease inhibitors, organ transplant antirejection drugs, or chemotherapy
    • Use caution with oral contraception
    • Use under a physician’s supervision if you’re taking antidepressants
  • In large doses, you may notice photosensitivity to sunlight and want to avoid this
  • It’s also contraindicated during pregnancy, however, safety studies are lacking

In short…

St. john’s wort can be used during breastfeeding when you purchase a standardized product from a reputable company. Standardization of the herb is to guarantee that the consumer is getting a product in which the chemistry is consistent from batch to batch.

  • Look for 300 mg 3x day to decrease postpartum depression and watch for adverse effects like colic, lethargy, and an increase in depression in mom.
  • Keep in mind, it takes a comprehensive approach to overcome postpartum depression and this is just one part of the puzzle.
  • Nervines are also needed to soothe the nervous system after childbirth.

Ashwagandha vs St. John’s Wort

Can’t decide where to begin? Watch this video.



P.S. Have you tried St. John’s Wort? What was your experience? Let us know. 👇



¹ Romm, Aviva; Botanicals Medicine for Women’s Health pg 887 ²Mills & Bones: The Essential Guide to Herbal Safety Hale & Rowe; Medications & Mother’s Milk,John’s%20wort.