Antidepressants During Pregnancy

antidepressants_during_pregnancy

The use of antidepressants during pregnancy is a controversial topic when considering the mental health of the mother, as well as the physical health of the baby. Women with depression may have an increased risk of harming the fetus if they continue to take certain antidepressants during pregnancy. However, depression itself can also harm your baby.

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your health care provider about all of your options.

Depression and Pregnancy

Many women battling with depression are prescribed antidepressants by their doctor to help manage symptoms. For years, it was thought that pregnancy protected against depression. This mentality was due to the shifting hormones in a woman’s body. However, scientists now understand that this is not the case; nearly one out of every 20 women who take antidepressants has taken them three months before they became pregnant or during the pregnancy.

The use of antidepressants during pregnancy is a topic that remains controversial because it is unknown what effects these drugs can have during fetal development. Antidepressants are known to cross the placenta, entering your baby’s bloodstream. It is also unknown whether or not some antidepressants remain in your child’s body after they are born.

Antidepressants and Pregnancy

Many doctors and health care providers recommend avoiding antidepressant use during pregnancy if at all possible. Although this may be the recommendation, this can sadly not be the case for each woman suffering from depression. The reality is, some severe cases of depression require medication to help keep the person alive. If you need to stay on antidepressants during pregnancy your doctor or provider will monitor your baby’s growth and development closely throughout the pregnancy.

In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public health advisory in regard to the use of antidepressants during pregnancy. This advisory talked about the possible risks of birth defects associated with antidepressant use. This prompted many women to stop using antidepressants altogether. However, studies show that up to one-third of pregnant women experience depression symptoms in the first trimester of pregnancy, beginning before they even realize they are pregnant.

Risks

During pregnancy, blood volume nearly doubles. This means that antidepressants are distributed to the baby through the placenta, which can lead to higher concentrations of medication in your baby’s body than their mother’s system.

There are many potential risks involved with anti-depressant use during pregnancy. If you take antidepressants, it is important to speak with your health care provider about the benefits and potential risks for yourself and your baby.

Some of the possible side effects associated with antidepressant use during pregnancy:

  • May lead to miscarriage or stillbirth
  • Can cause muscle problems in newborns.
  • Restrict fetal growth, resulting in small or underweight babies
  • Increased risk of birth defects such as cleft palate, heart problems, and limb malformations

In addition, babies exposed to antidepressants in the womb may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as:

  •  Breathing problems
  • Jitteriness
  • Irritability
  • Trouble feeding
  •  Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Poor tone

Alternative Ways to Help Cope with Depression During Pregnancy

If you struggle with depression and are looking to steer clear of antidepressants during your pregnancy there are ways to help cope with your depression.

Some of these natural approached to depression include:

  •  Exercise more
  • Spend time outdoors
  • Practice yoga and meditation
  • Minimize your stress
  • Eat healthy
  • Get plenty of sleep

More Questions?

If you have more questions regarding the health of your baby during pregnancy and your mental health contact Midwife360. Owner and certified midwife P. Fadwah Halaby and her team of midwives strive to take the holistic approach to gynecology and pregnancy services. We truly believe in empowering and educating each woman and family we care for. Contact Midwife360 with any questions or to schedule an appointment today.

Natural Approaches To Depression During Pregnancy

The media makes pregnancy out to be one of the happiest times in a woman’s life. Pregnant women are always portrayed as being overjoyed and looking forward to their new life with their baby. The reality is that many women develop depression during pregnancy, and it often continues after the birth of their child. There are many different factors that could lead to depression in a pregnant woman, including the fact that many prescription antidepressants aren’t safe for women to take while pregnant. When a woman has to give up her antidepressants in order to carry a healthy child to term, her mental health can suffer greatly.

Fortunately, there are many signs that can identify depression in a pregnant woman. For example, rapid mood swings or noticeable changes in her sleep patterns could be a symptom of depression. A lack of enthusiasm about the pregnancy or baby and thoughts of death and suicide are also markers for depression in a pregnant woman. If a pregnant woman speaks of having feelings of worthlessness, or if there is a noticeable change in her eating habits, these are also indicators of depression during pregnancy. If someone you know is displaying symptoms, you should encourage them to seek help within her community, or from a licensed therapist to ensure that her mental health is addressed early in her pregnancy.

Natural Remedies for Depression

 

Unfortunately, commonly prescribed antidepressants and MAOIs on the market can be harmful or fatal to the fetus. However, there are many natural remedies for depression that will have no negative impact on the mother or the unborn baby. The following list is a sampling of some of the popular natural remedies for depression.

Keep A Diary

You may find that documenting and journaling your thoughts and emotions can help you to get to the cause of the problem. You may be sad after visits from a certain family member, or after seeing particular clients at work. Keeping a diary of your activities and feelings helps to clear your mind and might even reveal what is causing your depression. 

Get Some Exercise

You don’t have to do high-impact aerobics in order to feel better. Yoga is an excellent choice for a pregnancy workout and is also a great postpartum program for weight loss and toning. It also has high impact rates on depression. Another healthy option is brisk walking or light jogging. Always be sure to consult with your doctor before starting a new workout routine while pregnant. 

Get Some Rest

Pregnancy alone causes women to feel exhausted, If you don’t get adequate rest, you’ll quickly feel like you’re suffering from chronic fatigue. Be sure to get plenty of rest, at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night if possible. This will greatly improve the way your pregnant body feels, and also will improve your mood. 

Women’s Peer Support Groups

Pregnancy groups on Facebook are a great example of peer support groups that could help you feel better. Many of those ladies are experiencing a lot of the same emotions that you’re also feeling. It helps to know that you aren’t alone. Wherever you can find groups of supportive women in similar situations, you may find help with your feelings of depression. 

Turn to Your Faith

Regardless of your beliefs or denomination, many people find that prayer and/or church services can help to lift them out of depression. If it is something that you regularly practice, then allow your spirituality to elevate your mood. 

Avoid Inflammatory Foods

Foods such as carbohydrates, refined sugars, and caffeine can actually make your depression worse. Stick with a healthy diet that consists of fresh fruits and vegetables. Include probiotics and prenatal vitamins in your daily regimen for some extra pep in your step. 

Sunlight/Lightbox

Sunlight, or a high-intensity light in a lightbox (to simulate sunshine), could be what you need to feel refreshed and add happiness to your mood. Sunlight allows your skin to produce Vitamin D, which plays an essential role in your mental health. 

 

If you’re feeling hopeless, please know that this is not abnormal for pregnant and post-partum women. Reach out to your spouse or family members to help you get the treatment you need. You want to be healthy and happy for your growing family. 

Professional help is available to you 24/7, call  1-800-273-8255