Provider Profile: Dr. Dean Raffelock

Many times women can become frustrated by the task of finding appropriate, effective care during the postpartum period.  When women are suffering with a mood issue, it is problematic to even recognize a need for care, let alone trying to navigate “options” such as information on the Internet, various types of care providers and insurance benefits.

WellPostpartum Weblog is proud to highlight practitioners who seek to address underlying causes for perinatal mood issues.  Many of the care providers in the Provider Profile Series practice complementary care.  They will refer mothers for medical treatment when necessary, but they tend to try other approaches first.  If testing shows neurotransmitter imbalance or nutritional depletion, those needs may be addressed first, for example.  Some specialize in helping women to wean off medications using alternative approaches.

Information about how they provide care is outlined here, starting with an interview of Dr. Dean Raffelock.

 

Dr. Dean Raffelock is a doctor of chiropractic who has earned board certifications in clinical nutrition, acupuncture, and applied kinesiology. He and his wife, Stephanie, have a special interest in helping mothers to recover their lost nutritional reserves after giving birth, thus preventing and resolving many postpartum mood disorders.  Because most commercially-available prenatal vitamins do not have adequate amounts of calcium or magnesium, Dr. Raffelock has developed prenatal and postnatal vitamin supplements which help mothers maintain vitality during their journey to motherhood.
He is the lead author of A Natural Guide to Pregnancy and Postpartum Health (Avery-2003).  www.pregnancyrecovery.com

 

1. How long have you been in practice?  32 years And how did you become interested in perinatal mood disorders?  Both my wife Stephanie and myself have mothers that suffered very serious postpartum mood disorders and never fully recovered while we were children. These postpartum difficulties adversely affected our mothers plus all other family members and we have been devoted to serve this community to try to prevent this kind of prolonged suffering in other families.  Do you provide telephone support?   We offer 30 and 60 minute phone consultations.
 
2. Please describe your clinical approach to women’s perinatal mood issues.  I am convinced, based on so many years of clinical experience, that a very significant percentage of women with perinatal mood disorders have bodies that become nutritionally depleted when donating all the nutrients to form their baby’s body, placenta, breastfeed, and provide the energy to take care of a new baby.  This concept has been validated by so many years of testing postpartum blood levels of key nutrients like 34 different fatty acids (ie. DHA and EPA omega 3 oils), amino acids, organic acids, intracellular minerals, antioxidants, etc.

A key factor of our approach is to test urine levels of the major neurotransmitters including serotonin, GABA, dopamine, adrenaline (epinephrine) and noradrenaline (norepinephrine) and a 24 hour urine hormone test measuring the free levels of progesterone, pregnenolone, estrone, estradiol, estriol, DHEA, adrosterone, testosterone, etiocholanolone, cortisol and cortisone. Blood thyroid hormone testing (TSH, free T3 and freeT4) is also very important.  It is very important to understand that neurotransmitters and hormones profoundly affect each other’s functioning.  For instance, there needs to be enough available free progesterone to allow the brain’s receptors for GABA help prevent/relieve anxiety and insomnia.  There needs to be enough estrogen for the serotonin receptors to function properly to prevent/relieve depression, insomnia, anxiety, limit carbohydrate cravings; etc.  It takes neurotransmitters and neuropeptides (proteins that affect nerve function) to simulate the pituitary gland to tell the body to make to make progesterone and estrogens and the other hormones just mentioned.  These systems are “synced” and need to be looked at as interlinking and interdependent.  Treating one system without the other often does not yield the desired results.
My book on this subject, A Natural Guide to Pregnancy and Postpartum Health (Avery-2003), goes into this topic in great detail including showing all the nutritional precursors that the body needs to make its own neurotransmitters and energy.  Our nutrient company, Sound Formulas LLC, is a woman’s company specializing in making premier quality, comprehensive prenatal and postnatal vitamin 3 bottle “systems” that provide all the key nutrients to provide babies and mothers what their bodies truly need.  Our postnatal vitamin system is called After Baby Boost and contains #1 a top tier multi-vitamin/mineral formula (including alpha lipoic acid and CoQ10), #2 essential fatty acids (fish oils), and a nighttime calcium/magnesium formula to enhance sleep and relaxation.

After Baby Boost  was put through a clinical trial using a leading prenatal vitamin as placebo and was much more successful in preventing and treating mood disorders, sleep disorders, joint pain, skin disorders and a host of other complaints than an ordinary prenatal vitamin taken postpartum.  Our website Soundfomulas.com gives a great deal of information on why these products were formulated the way they were along with lots of information that many pregnant and postpartum women find very helpful to know.
3. What types of mood issues do you see most often in new mothers?  Depression, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, chronic fatigue, and fears of hurting their babies.
 
4. Please say a little about your assessment and testing procedures.  See above
 
5. Which treatments do you tend to favor for mild reactions?   Nutrient replenishment, bio-identical hormone replacement and neurotransmitter amino acid precursor therapy. And severe reactions?  Add a referral for evaluation for anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, and/or sleep medication to treatment for mild to moderate reactions. mIt is important to note that these pharmaceuticals contain no nutrients and that replenishing all the nutrients donated to form baby’s body is very necessary for treatment and to prevent recurrence.  What is a typical course of treatment for each type of mood issue?  This predominantly depends upon individual test results, however, nutrient replenishment, evaluating and treating hormone and neurotransmitter imbalances are the core of what we do because these are the most powerful mood modulating chemicals in the human body.  Referrals for psychological counseling and medications are done as needed.
 
6. What have been some of your most remarkable successes with mothers?  Most of the women who come to us are able to overcome their difficulties, enjoy their families, and have other children if desired.

 

Thank you to Stephanie and Dean Raffelock for their passion in helping new mothers achieve balance in the postpartum period!

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