Depression During Pregnancy: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment

How Safe Are Antidepressants During Pregnancy?

If you are on an antidepressant and have stopped taking it during pregnancy, you are likely to experience depression again. So, it is vital that you and your doctor figure out whether or not you should continue taking them.

Here are the types of antidepressants that your doctor could prescribe:

  • Common serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as escitalopram (Lexapro®), citalopram (Celexa®), fluoxetine (Prozac®), sertraline (Zoloft®) and paroxetine (Paxil®). They increase the risk of congenital disabilities when taken in the first trimester.
  • Tricyclic and tetracyclic antidepressants, such as nortriptyline (Pamelor®) and desipramine (Norpramin®)
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (also called SNRIs), such as duloxetine (Cymbalta®)
  • Bupropion that includes bupropion hydrochloride (Wellbutrin®)

While some are safe to use during pregnancy, others can cause certain complications. Research shows that they can lead to low birth weight in babies, premature birth, miscarriage, birth defects, lung disorders (such as persistent pulmonary hypertension).

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), birth defects are twice or thrice more likely to happen in women who are on SSRIs (paroxetine and fluoxetine). Others such as Sertraline will not cause any birth defects.

What Are The Natural Remedies For Treating Depression During Pregnancy?

As antidepressants can have side-effects, you can consider using natural remedies to treat depression. But do talk to your doctor before trying any of the following options.

  1. Get enough rest: Work on establishing good sleep habits. A sound sleep promotes a healthy pregnancy and mitigates the depression symptoms.
  2. Nutrition: Some foods are linked to mood changes, mental health and ability to handle stress. Diet rich in sugars, caffeine, processed carbs, low protein, and artificial additives could lead to mental and physical issues. Make an effort to fuel your body with the right foods.
  3. Exercise: Exercise can increase serotonin levels and decrease cortisol levels, thus enhancing the mood. A brisk walk could make a lot of difference when you are feeling low.
  4. Omega-3 fatty acids: Research says that including omega-3 supplements in your diet every day can lower the symptoms of depression.
  5. Acupuncture: This is also a viable option for treating depression and its symptoms. Research says that those who tried acupuncture for depression noticed a significant reduction in the symptoms when compared to the women who did not receive it.

Can You Take Herbal Remedies For Depression?

St. John’s Wort is a commonly recommended herbal remedy to treat depression. But there isn’t enough research about taking this during pregnancy. Moreover, herbal products are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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