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Adrenal Stress, Pregnancy, and Post Partum Depression

Adrenal stress, pregnancy, and post-partum depression all go hand in hand.

The adrenal glands are little glands roughly the size of walnuts that sit on top of the kidneys. Their job is multifactorial, but for this discussion we are going to focus on what their role is in stress.

More specifically, their role in stress and pregnancy.

It is well known by most Applied Kinesiologists that pregnancy can aggravate a case of hypoadrenia (underfunctioning adrenals most likely from chronic stress). The mother is now under more stress and this further depletes adrenals that are already taxed due to our fast paced, high tech, high stress society.

What occurs in the mother is fatigue in the first 2 trimesters of pregnancy. Often, the mother has a really hard time. They often have many symptoms including headaches, nausea, morning sickness, pain, often times lower back pain.

But what occurs in the 3rd trimester is a whole different story. It is quite common to ask a mother about her pregnancy and hear that she never felt better than when she was in her 3rd trimester of pregnancy.

This is due to the fetus starting to produce its own adrenal hormones. The mother is now stealing the hormones from her fetus in an attempt to normalize her own exhausted physiology. Now of course, no mother would ever knowingly do this to her baby (at least we hope not), but she is #1 priority.

Her needs come first over the baby. It’s all about survival. A baby isn’t going to get too far without his or her mother.

This works tremendously well for the mother…

…until the baby is born.

This is where post-partum depression comes into play. The mother’s body is now crashing due to the lack of adrenal hormones. Her body can no longer handle stress very effectively.

But what about the baby?

This temporary surge of hormones for a few months helps the mother, but it has a detrimental effect on the developing baby. During pregnancy, the developing fetus’ adrenals are being forced to produce enough hormones for it and the mother.

This stress of producing more hormones than it it needs also depresses the baby’s immune system. What I see in my office is these children become very prone to allergies and recurrent infections, and can be quite irritable.

So in this sense, nature’s head start program is failing. Instead of producing a baby that is strong and robust, this baby already has a strike against it. Once this scenario is explained to the mother, they usually say how much sense this makes.

I urge them not to get upset at themselves because they didn’t know, but to instead pass this information on to their friends who are currently pregnant, or plan on being pregnant.

As a mother it is important to first get YOUR body in top shape so that you can carry a healthy baby.

Here are some things to focus on:

  • Get enough sleep. Going to be by 9-10 is ideal. And, at very minimum 8 hours per night, 9 is better.
  • Eliminate all food allergies/sensitivities. A well trained Applied Kinesiologist can help you.
  • Cut down on the sweets and carbohydrates. Spikes in blood sugar, stress the adrenals, not to mention the pancreas.
  • Find and treat all subclinical, chronic infections. Again, a qualified Applied Kinesiologist is the best person to help you with this.
  • Get plenty of water. Dehydration stresses all the body systems.
  • Minimize exposure to toxins.
  • Find a good chiropractor. My bias is one trained in Applied Kinesiology or other techniques such as Koren Specific Technique. The right adjustments will improve the function of the nervous system.
  • If you exercise (which you should), don’t overwork yourself. Many people over-train and don’t give their bodies enough time to rest.


Following these steps will help prevent adrenal stress and exhaustion. If you already have had the baby and are possibly in a state of post-partum depression, make sure to find a good Applied Kinesiologist that can help you. This road is better traveled with the help of a trained professional.


Image from www.imperfectwomen.com.

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