I was afraid of this - postpartum MAV

So good news: I now have a 7 week-old son. He is gorgeous and perfect and I’m totally in love.

Bad news: If you know my history, my MAV drastically improved when I went off the birth control pill in September 2009, and got even better when I was pregnant. During the pregnancy, it was pretty much a non-issue, except for some certain triggers like fluorescent lighting.

About 5 weeks postpartum, I started getting headaches. Soon after came the all-too familiar rocking, swaying, imbalance, visual trouble, fatigue from trying to stay steady in an unsteady world. It’s been a couple weeks, and I only think it’s getting worse. I am so depressed; I just want to feel like a normal human being again. Of course, this has totally confirmed for me that my MAV is 100% hormonal. Fortunately we have a good nighttime sleeper, or I’d be in big trouble.

Anyway, just wondering if anyone has suggestions for me. Does nursing contribute to MAV? Will I get better on my own in several months, once my hormones settle down? Is it the drop in progesterone that causes this? Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated :slight_smile:

Congratulations on your baby!!

My MAV started when my son was two months old. I continued nursing even when on Celexa, as it is safe. He didn’t have any issues with that. Good thing that you are able to get sleep at night, that was one of my biggest challenges. My husband had to really step in and help out while I rested and tried to heal.

I definitely think that hormones have a huge role in pushing us over the edge, but it’s probably not all hormones. For me, the dizziness came back after I stopped breastfeeding and stopped Celexa. I’m back on Prozac now and improving.

Have you considered meds? Be careful with this time, as you are also vulernable for postpartum depression/anxiety, and with the MAV it can just make it all seem worse. Take care of yourself!!

p.s. If you have any concerns about medications while nursing, check out Dr. Hale’s web site infantrisk.com/content/webforum. He is the author of Medications and Mothers’ Milk, which is considered the Bible for care providers when prescribing meds to nursing mothers. The old webforum has lots of information, as well as the new webforum that are linked to on this page.


I posted one of the success stories. I didn’t know I have migraine until I started to wean my two kids from breastfeeding and my supply decreased (each when they were about 4 months old). I had zero symptoms until then. I guess hormone triggers are different for different people. Anyway, I was really, really sick. Somehow I also lost most of my vestibular function, and it’s gone forever. The good news is I’m doing well now - taking three preventive drugs (Librium, Effexor, and Amitriptyline). It was sad to stop breastfeeding abruptly so that I could take meds, but you can grow a perfectly healthy baby on formula. I’m going off on a tangent - switching to formula was the LEAST of my problems with my MAV raging.

I’ve found a few moms who were dizzy postpartum for a month or so, and it went away on its own. They didn’t believe me when I said it was migraine.

Congratulations on your baby. I hope you’re feeling better soon so you can enjoy your little one.

Congratulations on your new bundle of joy! May I ask if you had a C-section? The MAV big bang happened for me 3 days after having my sweet daughter- I think it was when my milk came in. I nursed for 8 weeks, completely dizzy, refusing to try any meds because I wanted the best for her, then I sadly realized I wasn’t giving myself, my husband, nor my 3-year-old son my best. I bid farewell to nursing and 7 months later, she is healthy and happy and perfectly great on formula…but I’m still dizzy. :cry:

It’s totally up to you and it’s a personal decision. If you are rocking and rolling and having a hard time, do it for you and your baby. I’m glad I tried the meds, but a little bitter that I’m not nursing because the meds didn’t work, but that was the only way to find out.

MAV is definitely hormonal related for me as well and I’d love to have a third child but scared out of my mind to go through the big bang mess again…but if I’m dizzy like this still, then why the hell not?!

Yes, I absolutely agree that your health is most important. A healthy mom makes for a healthy and happy baby. There is nothing wrong with formula, and your baby will be just fine if you stop nursing to start some meds to help with MAV. Get it under control as quickly as you can.

Best of luck!

Thanks ladies!

No, I did not have a c-section. I was induced at 42 weeks (no pain meds though). I was actually fine during labor and the few weeks after birth…the MAV started up again about 5 weeks postpartum. I have no idea if the breastfeeding is contributing, or if it’s the drop in pregnancy hormones or what. I have no problem with formula (we do supplement a little anyway) if it comes to that, but I’m hesitant to give up nursing right now, since it may just be postpartum stuff causing it. Fortunately I can function alright now (it’s not good, but it’s been much worse in the past), so I’m going to try to give it some time. I will call the doctor soon, though, to at least talk to him and see what my options are.

Congratulations on the birth of your son!!! I am so sorry to hear about your declining symptoms, and wish you all the very best. It is so difficult taking care of a child when sick. I can relate completely. you got well before, and hopefully will again very soon. All the very best to you!

This post is from a very long tim ago but I just wondered if you still use this forum and if so could we talk about mav after pregnancy x

It’s ME again. Cassada hasnt posted since May 2012. @dizzy3 (one lovely lady, she is too in US) and is only current member I’m aware of and who posts actively who is post partum MAVer. Helen

@Onandon03 thanks Helen.
@Jessyka_Nettleton i hope you are doing well. Send me a private message and we can talk there. It is not fun having mav postpartum. Hugs

Hi, I happened to get an email about this, though as someone said, I haven’t been active on here in a very long time! I’m so sorry if you are struggling with MAV after pregnancy. I’m not sure how much help I can be at this point, as it was over 7 years ago, and I’ve only had the one child. I did start to feel a lot better once my hormones settled down. I continued to nurse for 14 months and was alright doing so. I’m 100% sure that the birth control pill prior to trying to get pregnant is what caused my MAV in the first place. I have not been on the pill since, and except for a few off days, thankfully have been doing quite well the past several years. I’ll be thinking about you and I hope you feel better very soon.


Excellent news! Thanks for popping back to update us (it’s so important that old members that are doing well do this) and wish you continued health!

I’m so glad you are doing well. And just your reply about how good your are doing etc makes me feel very positive so thank you xx