12 Jun Are you pregnant and depressed? You’re not alone and you don’t need to suffer!
We used to think that pregnancy was a time of bliss for women; a time when extremely high levels of “feel good” hormones are present and protect the woman from a mood disorder. However, reseach in recent year puts the percentage of depressed and/or anxious women during pregnancy at 12%. In fact, pregnancy is now recognized as a vulnerable time for women; a time when mental health issues may either strike for the first time or recur.
Treatment is essential and available. If you’re pregnant and depressed or anxious you can get treatment and feel better. The question is, what treatment is the best for you. If you talk to your GP about how you feel, which may be a good idea, they are very likely to either refer you to a psychiatrist, who is likely to prescribe an anti-depressant medication or they will prescribe it themselves. The message to pregnant and postpartum women seeking medical advice is that the risks of not treating the condition outweigh the risk of taking anti-depressants during pregnancy. While the risks of not treating depression/anxiety during pregnancy and postpartum are significant, the question is not whether to treat or not but how to treat. Medication is definitely not the only treatment modality that is available or that has been shown to be effective. Psychological treatments, such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Interpersonal Psychotherapy and Marital Therapy have been shown to be as effective as medication in alleviating symptoms of depression/anxiety, if not more. Group therapy has also been found to be helpful. The question, then, should not be to treat or not to treat but, rather, how to treat. Women should be given updated and accurate information about ALL of the treatment options and should be encouraged to make a decision based on this information and their own needs and circumstances. Please, if you are pregnant and depressed and/or anxious-get help. It’s important for you, your baby and your whole family.