Marla Ahlgrimm R.Ph.

Marla Ahlgrimm | Retired Pharmacist | Leading Expert in Women's Health

Marla Ahlgrimm Explains Pregnancy Depression Connection

Marla AhlgrimmGreater than one in 10 women experience depression shortly after giving birth, says Marla Ahlgrimm. The “baby blues” are nothing to be ashamed of and, with treatment, will not impact a woman’s bond with her baby.

According to Marla Ahlgrimm, depression is a collection of feelings – sadness, anxiety, emptiness – that interfere with daily life and can have real physical ramifications. Many women with depression may experience fatigue, insomnia, and memory impairment.

It is not uncommon to feel down and out within the first few days and weeks after having a baby. However, as Marla Ahlgrimm explains, when those feelings simply won’t go away, depression may be the culprit. A doctor can diagnose depression based on self-reported symptoms. These include:

  • Restlessness
  • A sense of despair or hopelessness
  • Uncontrollable crying
  • Lack of energy and motivation
  • Dietary changes
  • Sleep pattern disruption
  • A feeling of worthlessness
  • Sudden disinterest in previously pleasurable activities
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Unexplained persistent headaches and stomach problems

Marla Ahlgrimm notes that depression is not caused by a single factor, but rather results from a combination of issues. It is a mental illness common in women with a family history of depression. Stress, including that associated with having a new baby, often triggers depression. Women who suffer depression shortly after childbirth are said to have postpartum depression. Postpartum depression, explains Marla Ahlgrimm, may be triggered by a sudden change in estrogen and progesterone or a dip in thyroid hormones.

There are other factors that can play a role in postpartum depression: lack of sleep, being overwhelmed, doubts about mothering abilities, and trying to achieve unrealistic expectations of being the perfect parent can all contribute to these feelings of dejection.

Postpartum moms with symptoms of depression should contact their doctor if symptoms get worse or potentially put herself or the baby in harm’s way.


Author: Marla Ahlgrimm

Pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm revolutionized the field of women’s health in the 1970s and continues to do so today. After introducing the term “premenstrual syndrome” to the American public in the late 1970s, Marla Ahlgrimm has continued to focus her pharmacy practice over the years to successfully address hormone concerns that affect women as they age. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Marla Ahlgrimm co-founded Madison Pharmacy Associates, and it was there she fine tuned individualized care protocols and prescription medication to optimize a woman’s hormonal health. One of the first hormone issues that Marla tackled was Premenstrual Syndrome, or PMS. At that time, there were no diagnosis or treatment options to address the severe symptoms that many women were reporting. As a result of Marla Ahlgrimm ’s intense attention to women’s health, Madison Pharmacy Associates gained a national reputation as an innovative practice. Founded in 1982, Madison Pharmacy Associates was the first pharmacy to special in women’s health in the nation. Thanks to the expertise of Marla Ahlgrimm, Madison Pharmacy Associates became known for the management of PMS. Over the years, Madison Pharmacy Associates evolved with Marla Ahlgrimm’s careful guidance, providing the national PMS Access newsletter, as well as a toll-free line where patients could obtain referrals to physicians who had the expertise to help them manage their symptoms. Marla Ahlgrimm founded Women’s Health America, Inc. in 1993 to help women by providing individualized hormonal medications to address the complex health issues of women and also to provide practical, helpful women’s health information. Over the years, Marla Ahlgrimm’s vision has grown to include Women’s Health America, Madison Pharmacy Associates, PMS Access and Cyclin Pharmaceuticals. In addition to her accomplishments with these landmark organizations, Marla Ahlgrimm is an author, having published two watershed books, The HRT Solution and Self-Help for Premenstrual Syndrome. Marla Ahlgrimm has also been published in numerous national publications, including serving as a columnist for The American Journal of Natural Medicine. Today, the primary work of Marla Ahlgrimm centers on natural hormone therapy, an important area for the large number of women who are menopausal and postmenopausal. Marla Ahlgrimm ’s work is unique because of her focus on individualized, natural hormone therapy options. According to pharmacist, Marla Ahlgrimm, many health issues facing women today are related to hormone changes. Using an individualized approach to therapy, she reports that many women feel reenergized for the first time in years. In addition to recognition in publications and journals, Marla Ahlgrimm has been recognized with a number awards over the span of her career. Some of Marla Ahlgrimm ’s most notable awards have been the YWCA’s acknowledgment of Marla Ahlgrimm as one of its Women of Distinction and recognition by her alma mater, the University of Wisconsin, as one of its Distinguished Alumni. Above all of the awards and honors, Marla Ahlgrimm finds that helping so many women is the greatest accomplishment of all. In fact, says Marla Ahlgrimm, she still works with some of her very first patients and their doctors. These women once sought the help of Marla Ahlgrimm for PMS, she says, and today she is helping them manage symptoms of menopause and the years that follow.

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