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Using Supplemental Hormones While Breastfeeding

Previously, we recommended the use of natural progesterone cream for women with postpartum depression. Women with depression that has held on for years after giving birth seem to benefit most, but it is safe for you to use even while nursing. In physiological doses, progesterone very rarely affects milk flow, and if it does, the flow returns to normal within a day or two of discontinuing it.

If vaginal dryness is a significant problem for you – as it is for many nursing mothers, due to the effects of the hormones that stimulate milk production – you might benefit from the use of a vaginal estriol cream. These creams are usually used by postmenopausal women, and must be prescribed by a physician and obtained from a compounding pharmacist. The dosage recommended by natural hormone expert Dr. John Lee is 2 milligrams every two to three days. Do try a few different nonhormonal lubricants before you ask your doctor for estriol cream.

While you are nursing, you should stay away from other supplemental hormones, including dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and melatonin. Herbal remedies can help you sleep as well as melatonin can, and if progesterone cream doesn't work to improve long-lasting postpartum depression, wait until you have finished nursing to try DHEA – and use it with the guidance of a health-care professional.

More on: Postpartum

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From A Natural Guide to Pregnancy and Postpartum Health by Dean Raffelock, Robert Rountree, and Virginia Hopkins with Melissa Block. Copyright © 2002 by Dr. Dean Raffelock. Used by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit www.penguin.com. Get a 15% discount with the coupon code FENPARENT.


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