Depression during pregnancy: How to treat it

depressed-womanAs many as 1 out of 5 pregnant women have symptoms of depression. This is a serious illness that the woman and her health care provider need to address.

Today the American Psychiatric Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued treatment recommendations about depression during pregnancy.

Untreated depression has risks for both the woman and the fetus. Antidepressants also carry some risks. So treating this illness during pregnancy is a balancing act. In some mild cases, therapy may be preferred over medication.

Bottom line: Each woman needs to work with her health care provider to find the best solution for herself and her baby. Decisions must be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into acount the seriousness of the illness. If a woman has depression and is thinking about getting pregnant, she should talk to her provider beforehand.

One major concern is that depression often goes unrecognized during pregnancy. This isn’t good for anyone. A woman who is depressed feels sad or “blue” and has other symptoms that last for 2 weeks or longer. Other symptoms include the following:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Sleeping too much
  • Lack of interest
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Loss of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in appetite
  • Restlessness, agitation or slowed movement
  • Thoughts or ideas about suicide

If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your health care provider. For yourself and your baby.

If you have depression, are taking medication and find out you’re pregnant, keep taking your meds for now and talk to your provider right away.

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