Lunch & Learn Webinar

How Naturopathic Medicine Can Help You Thrive Postpartum with Dr. Jenna Priestap, ND

Guest Speaker:
Dr. Jenna Priestap, ND

Dr. Danielle O' Connor, ND

Webinar Date and Time:
11/01/2023 12:00 pm

Dr. Jenna Priestap is a Naturopathic Doctor who focuses on women’s health, especially maternal care.

Q. What are some common misconceptions about the postpartum period and postpartum care?

A. One is that your healing should be done at six weeks. In reality, these six weeks correspond with the physical recovery after you have your baby and deliver the placenta. Getting rest is essential because you leave a plate-sized wound in your uterus, which should fully heal by six weeks.

However, when you have a baby, you are completely cracked open spiritually and emotionally, so there’s more that goes on. A lot of women get caught up in thinking that they should be fully healed and feeling like themselves by six weeks when, in reality, even though conventional care ends, at that point, there’s a lot more to come for that first year. This is where naturopathic medicine can be a perfect support.

Another big one is that postpartum depression and anxiety are only going to be only going to show up in the first six weeks. In reality, you can get postpartum depression anxiety through the whole first year. With care ending at six weeks, there are a lot of women that are basically left in the dark and soon begin to feel like there’s something wrong with them. Mood disorders and postpartum anxiety and depression are not just in your head. Physiological reasons and nutrient deficiencies correlate with an increased risk of postpartum depression or anxiety. The nutrients that you use to create your beautiful baby, when depleted, increase your chances of postpartum depression and anxiety if they’re not replenished.

Q. How can a woman prepare for the postpartum period?

A. There are a couple of things that I recommend. One is setting boundaries: Discuss with your partner what it will look like when you’ve had the baby. Like, whether or not people are allowed to come over unannounced. Having people drop in unexpectedly can be an additional stressor. In such situations, your partner can be your voice.

The other thing is your nutrition. This is where I love freezer meals. Your energy and mood are going to be controlling your blood sugar. You want to focus on nutrient-dense foods with plenty of healthy fats and protein. Avoid refined sugar. I know people mean well when they come over with doughnuts and cake. But eating it will make your blood sugar drop and make you feel even more tired and irritable. Looking for either a meal service or freezer meals will be a huge help.

Another thing that will help is working with a practitioner to have your nutrient levels tested. Iron, for example, is important for blood production. When you have a baby, you are making a baby’s worth of blood. Iron deficiency has a 66% correlation to an increased risk of postpartum depression and anxiety.

Q. What sort of testing should a woman do during the postpartum period?

A. There’s something called a complete blood count where they look at your red blood cells, how many are there, and how much haemoglobin it is. This checks, especially for anaemia. Ideally, this should be checked within the first three months to mitigate any risk. Besides that, iron, b12 and vitamin D are important for energy and mood.

I always say that on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is no energy at all and 10 is the most, you should be at a minimum of 6. Anything below 6 needs investigation. You should be functioning at this level even if you have four kids.

The other thing that I recommend is a thyroid panel, not just TSH. TSH tells you about the message from your brain to your thyroid and how hard it needs to push to get it to work. But, we really want to look at postpartum thyroiditis and check for antibodies—anti-TPO and anti-thyroid globulin. This ensures that the thyroid is functioning and isn’t impacted by all the postpartum changes.

Q. What are some dietary tips for postpartum care?

A. I like to keep it simple—focus on eating whole foods and avoiding refined sugar and inflammatory foods. If you are sensitive to dairy, for example, the last thing you want to be doing is consuming it and overburdening your system. It’s important to think ahead and focus on those healthy, well-cooked foods. Instead of eating a raw salad, for example, have a stew. Stews, soups and stir-fries are foods where the nutrients are easily absorbed. This way, you nourish your body well.

About Dr. Jenna

As a mom of 3, Dr. Jenna understands the whirlwind that is postpartum. With every pregnancy, not only has a baby been born, but so has a mother. This time called Matrescence (process of becoming a mother) is a time of massive physical, mental & spiritual change.
Despite how the current care of mothers is set up, healing does not end at 6 weeks postpartum. The mother needs just as much care as the baby (if not more) during those initial months.

This is exactly where Dr. Jenna’s passion lies, helping women recover & thrive during such an overwhelming time of life. Mothers deserve to have the consistent & strong support they had while pregnant. I’d love to be that person for you!

Dr. Jenna Priestap realized her passion when she first encountered the beauty of naturopathic medicine at the University of Waterloo, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology with dean’s honors list distinction. She followed her calling to treat illnesses from the root cause instead of treating symptoms and found a way to help mothers recover & thrive postpartum as well as help women experience regular, painless periods (as they’re supposed to be).

Dr. Jenna is registered to practice by the College of Naturopaths of Ontario & is a member of the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors & Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors.

Dr. Danielle O' Connor, ND in Etobicoke - HealthBuddha

About Our Host

Dr. Danielle O' Connor, ND

Dr. Danielle has been a licensed Naturopathic Doctor for almost 20 years, practicing and living in the Halton region. She is deeply dedicated to helping her patients figure out the root cause of their health concerns and supporting them with foundational support like healthy eating, targeted supplementation, counselling, and lifestyle recommendations…  About Danielle O’ Connor