Swellness Blog


Wellness in the Postpartum Phase and Menopause

wellness May 27, 2024
Wellness in the Postpartum Phase and Menopause

Photo by Ivan Samkov

Many people are not aware that the postpartum phase of a new mother’s life can be remarkably similar to the menopausal stage. These can be very challenging times for women because of the physical and mental changes they experience. For women who have children in their late 30s and early 40s, the stages can even overlap. Symptoms like mood swings, acne, low libido, night sweats, and other difficulties are common.

Understanding what is happening to your body during these periods can help navigate the challenges they bring. Knowledge about what you are experiencing,  as well as taking steps to support yourself can help ease the transition.

Understanding Postpartum and Menopause

Both postpartum and menopause can cause substantial fluctuations in hormones like estrogen and progesterone—along with a variety of other hormones. Since these hormones play a big part in your menstrual cycle, they also affect your mood, your sense of well-being, and even your physical health.


Immediately following the birth of your child, big hormonal changes alter your estrogen and progesterone. While you were pregnant, these hormones were at their maximum. Just a day after your baby is born, they drop substantially. The changes that this reduction can bring are sometimes referred to as the “baby blues” or the “fourth trimester.” They can lead to depression, anxiety, hair loss, headaches, acne, and other unpleasant symptoms.

These symptoms usually last around six months, although they can extend throughout breastfeeding. After around six months, your body will begin to adjust back to the normal hormonal levels you had before you were pregnant.

For most people, the baby blues last a few weeks. However, some women develop postpartum depression, which is a more severe set of symptoms that can make it difficult to take care of yourself or your baby.

If you think you are experiencing postpartum depression, it’s important to speak to a medical professional. There are things they can do to help and improve things for you and your baby.


This stage of life usually starts in your 40s, but it does start earlier for some women. The same hormones that cause difficulties after birth are involved in this stage as well, although instead of dropping off immediately they tend to fluctuate. They can increase or decrease, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. The symptoms are often similar to postpartum, including depression, anxiety, and physical effects like brain fog, loss of libido, and night sweats.

Menopause can last between four months and 10 years. It will eventually end, but it can go on for a long time and continue to cause problems throughout the entire time.

Improving Wellness During Postpartum and Menopause

While these stages of life are natural and expected, that does not mean that their negative effects should be ignored. The mental and physical effects of these conditions are sometimes merely annoying, but other times can have serious negative impacts on your life. They are not something you should ignore. There is a good chance that appropriate interventions, like seeing a medical and/or mental health provider, can help.

Some things you can do to improve wellness during these difficult seasons include:

Talk to Your Doctor

It’s common for women going through these stages of life to assume that whatever they are experiencing is just part of it and must be dealt with. They think that the best they can do is grin and bear it. But that is not necessarily the case.

There are many treatment options for different symptoms caused by hormonal fluctuations. Many women going through menopause consider hormone replacement therapy, which can help alleviate the symptoms of menopause. Women experiencing hair loss from postpartum can often find hair loss solutions that will help address the problem.

It’s also important to remember that only a medical professional can tell you if what you are experiencing is “normal.” If it’s not, you should know about it and get the help you deserve.

Stop Smoking

The risks of smoking are well known, but doctors keep repeating this warning because the risks of experiencing heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer, among other ailments, go way up when you smoke. It might be tempting to smoke to alleviate the discomfort of your hormonal issues, but it is not worth the risk.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise makes your body and your mind feel better, especially if you do it regularly. This is true even if you are going through an uncomfortable stage of life like postpartum or menopause. Keep in mind you should limit exercise immediately following childbirth, so talk to your doctor about when you can start.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Like smoking, eating poorly can seem like the thing to do when you are feeling awful. Unfortunately, all it will do is make you feel worse over the long term. Try to eat primarily whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and lean sources of protein. The healthier you eat, the better your mood will be and the more energy you will have.

Reduce Stress

Depending on what is happening with your hormones, your ability to manage stress naturally may be reduced. That’s why it’s helpful to engage in purposeful stress reduction techniques. These can include breathing exercises, meditation, and socializing with loved ones.

Talk to a Mental Health Professional

If you are having a hard time and it doesn’t seem to get better, talking to a mental health professional can help. They are trained to help you navigate the mental and emotional challenges of postpartum and menopause. You will not be the first person they have helped through these struggles.

Stay Connected with Others

Many women find it helpful to join groups with other women experiencing similar changes in life for support. It can be comforting to spend time with a supportive group of women going through similar challenges.

You Deserve Wellness During This Difficult Time

Postpartum and menopause are some of the most difficult experiences women have. You deserve to feel as good as you can while you go through such experiences. Prioritize your well-being and take action that will ease the process and ensure you get the support you want and need.

About the Author


Megan Isola holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and a minor in Business Marketing from Cal State University Chico. She enjoys going to concerts, trying new restaurants, and hanging out with friends.