We’ve talked about various ways to keep you and your family safe before on the PDX Small Business Network Podcast, but what about the more specific needs that need attention? For example—mothers, who suffer from postpartum depression, as well as postpartum anxiety. These diseases already have a lot of misconceptions surrounding them, and being able to treat the things that make you feel like you’re not good enough is extremely important in maintaining a healthy and fulfilling life.
That’s where Alicia Hart can give you a hand. A physician, and founder of Vitality Northwest—a holistic primary care center that treats women as well as children—created this space due to her own experiences as a mother, as well as needing to fill a space that many medical centers lacked. Together, Alicia and I talk about a variety of topics, ranging from the care that she provides to mothers and their children, as well as her experience, and what got her interested in this specific field. Let’s get started!
IN THIS EPISODE YOU WILL LEARN:
- What Vitality Northwest is all about. Alicia describes it as a holistic primary care center, and after going through her own postpartum depression journey, Alicia discovered there were a lot of holes in the medical system in terms of how mothers are treated. Because of this, she decided to become a one-stop shop for women who might be experiencing postpartum mood disorders, as well as taking care of children as a primary care physician.
- Alicia explains her start in this particular field, stating that most women are using their OBs as a primary care stop. However, OBs stop taking care of you 6 weeks after the birth of your child, and things like postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety might not be evident for up to 4 months. At that point, most people are making visits for their child, and you’re not as likely to be seeing your OB that far after the birth. This is where Alicia comes in, to take care of both the mother and the child!
- Alicia also explains that she does a fair amount of co-care for pregnancy—as well as being trained as a midwife, though she doesn’t deliver due to her own personal life. Traditional care doesn’t go into things like nutrition and herbs, which is her specialty, and Alicia states that she can fix a lot of common complaints women have during pregnancy—such as constipation, or cramps—by using these herbs.
- Alicia explains the importance of what’s called pelvic floor therapy. In France, she states, it’s standard to get 8 weeks of pelvic floor physical therapy after delivering a child, regardless of how the delivery was performed. After giving birth, 90% of women who have had a vagial birth, and 75% of women who have had a cesarean delivery end up having involuntary bodily reactions during things like laughing, sneezing, or jumping. Women also can experience pain, which makes it unable for them to have sex, and often they complain that something doesn’t feel right with their pelvic floor. Alicia, having been well trained by pelvic floor physical therapist Tammy Ken—strongly advocates for women to partake in it, and has used it—to much success!—on patients before.
- Alicia explains that, while she does use herbs and vitamins, she can and does prescribe antibiotics and other traditional medicines as well. She prefers a holistic approach, however, and studies the herbs she’s giving to people (which she posts about with the hashtag #evidencebasedwitch). Alicia also prefers herbs to antibiotics, due to the lower amount of side effects someone can experience.
- Alicia gives us a history of Vitality Northwest, explaining that she’d been in practice for a little over 2 years before starting. She wanted to get in somewhere that she could focus on postpartum women and pediatrics, and after getting hands-on experience through other medical centers and training centers, she made an amalgamation of what she saw a lack of in the medical world. After all, she doesn’t want someone to fall through the same cracks she did after having her children. Vitality has since been in business for nearly one year!
- Alicia tells us some common misconceptions about postpartum depression, stating that most people think it’s something that happens to a low amount of people. However, that’s not true—1 in 3 people will experience postpartum depression. Alternatively, people tend to think that, if they love their baby, they can’t have postpartum depression, which is also untrue. In fact, people can love their child so much, they develop an unhealthy attachment, and end up being afraid of letting anyone else take care of them. Because of this, Alicia states that you can actively change your behavior to fit your obsessions, and depression falls right in line.
- Alicia also explains to us the difference between postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety, stating that depression settles down to feeling like you’re not doing it right, that you’re worthless, and that things aren’t going the way you’ve planned. Anxiety is more externalized and focused on other things that then affect the way you think and feel.
- Alicia explains how she treated people with anxiety and depression, stating that herbs and counseling are a strong way to go. However, the treatment comes down to the person, and people need different things. Sometimes, that’s medicine they only take once a day, for others, it’s a more holistic approach. Alicia likes to get into the biochemistry of each person to understand what’s going on.
LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
Did Alicia not get to answer a burning question on your mind? No problem! You can reach her through Vitality’s Facebook page, or by contacting the clinic through their website. Make sure to call quickly, though—they’re on the brink of having to call 2 weeks in advance to get an appointment, so make sure you get in touch with Alicia as soon as possible!