Pregnancy and depression: how to be treated?

Depressive disorders along with anxiety are some of the most common mental illnesses. Depression can affect anyone: an elderly person, a young man, or even a child. In a pregnant woman, this disease is also possible. Women in position always emphasize that you need to be careful with medicines, because they can adversely affect the child. Does this apply to antidepressants? Can I use them when pregnancy and depression coincided?

Are antidepressants and pregnancy possible?

Treatment for depression is usually associated with medications. However, fearing for the baby’s health, women avoid the use of drugs – they are recommended for patients only in emergency situations. Hence the answer to the question posed – yes, antidepressants can be used.

Depression is a serious illness that requires treatment. Refusal of therapy can lead to serious consequences: the risk of maintaining depressive disorders even after the birth of the child increases. This condition is dangerous: it can lead to improper development of the relationship between mother and child. There is a risk that a woman cannot take care of a newborn.

Depression can affect the course of pregnancy itself, especially with a high degree of severity and the absence of treatment. There is a risk of premature birth, low birth weight or other complications.

What to drink so as not to harm the baby?

There is no doubt that depression treatment is necessary. But there is another question – the danger of using antidepressants in bearing the fetus. None of the currently available drugs belongs to group A, whose use is absolutely safe for a pregnant woman.  

There are reports that some of the common antidepressants may increase the risk of various birth defects that the baby will receive. It is especially dangerous when drugs are taken in the first trimester.

Known drugs whose use is associated with an increased risk (paroxetine). However, there are cases when the appearance of disorders in children whose mothers used antidepressants was definitely less common (fluoxetine, sertraline). In general, we can say that it is always necessary to analyze the benefits for the woman’s psyche during depression and the potential risks that may arise from the use of medicines.

Help the psyche during pregnancy

Each disease during pregnancy should be considered individually. The treatment of a problem in a woman who suffered from depression before conception, and in a situation where the disorder appeared at the time of bearing the fetus, will be different.  

In the first case, a woman took antidepressants before she became pregnant. In this situation, an accurate assessment of the state of her psyche is required. Complete discontinuation of antidepressants is not recommended (especially when the patient has not recovered from depressive symptoms). You can reduce the dose of the drug taken by the pregnant woman, but such a decision is made when the patient’s mental state allows this.

Sometimes a change in course may consist in replacing one medicine with another, which is characterized by a lower tendency to cause disorders in the child. Here, however, it should be emphasized that changes in antidepressant therapy last for some time – this is not one day. Previously used drug should be gradually eliminated, and a new drug is administered with caution. Therapy should be carried out under the supervision of the attending physician.

When a mother’s condition is critical

Another decision on the treatment of depression is made if the disease appeared when the pregnancy began. Here, first of all, it is necessary to analyze whether a woman really needs pharmacological treatment. When depressive symptoms are of low intensity, initially attempts can be made to eliminate them on the basis of psychotherapy. If this does not help or the symptoms of the disease in a pregnant woman deteriorate significantly, antidepressant treatment is usually started.

It should be emphasized that there is no single concrete way to combat depression. The treatment plan for patients should be determined individually. However, it is always necessary to inform the gynecologist who monitors the pregnancy that antidepressants are being used. Their use can lead to withdrawal symptoms in the child. Its manifestations may include anxiety in the newborn or transient difficulties with feeding. These problems usually quickly disappear, but the medical staff involved in the young mother and baby should be aware of the possibility of their occurrence.

Alternative help methods

A pregnant woman cannot treat depression herself. The presence of the disease should be known to a specialist who deals with the health of the expectant mother. He will be able to draw up a suitable treatment plan, advise safe antidepressants and relieve the condition. If a pregnant woman calls for help in time, the baby will be born and grow up mentally and physically healthy, and the woman will get rid of the disorder.

If the doctor admits that the condition of the pregnant woman does not require medical intervention, then the following corrective support methods can advise her:

  • An alternative to pharmacological treatment for gestation is psychotherapy. This is the best and safest way for a pregnant woman when she feels depressed, upset.
  • Yoga and meditation. The ways that relax the “mind” remove the anxiety that many women experience when they become pregnant or in their later stages.
  • Classes of art therapy. Exercises where, with the help of visual means, you can better know yourself and calm a restless consciousness. It is better to practice them together with a specialist. This is done by psychotherapists and psychologists with relevant work experience. If the psyche of a woman is in a relatively safe condition and the expectant mother does not require medical support, then she can seek help from a specialist. Personal therapy for a pregnant woman, with the support of a psychologist, as well as a group of meetings of expectant mothers under the guidance of a therapist, is an excellent opportunity to improve your condition, physical well-being and make waiting for childbirth and a meeting with your child a pleasant, joyful pastime.  

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