A pregnant woman will do everything that she thinks is right for her baby. From eating habits to prenatal care, everything is taken care of. What if there is a mental health issue? It is surely not easy to take care of your baby in the womb with mood disorder such as depression.
Your doctor will advise you to stop taking anti-depressants in pregnancy. This puts you in a dilemma of how to balance your baby’s health and your depression or mood disorder. Let us discuss here the ways that can help a mother meet her mental health solution with healthy pregnancy.
Can a woman feel depressed during pregnancy?
It was a belief that pregnancy may cure depression due to hormonal changes. According to the research it is said that women who have or had already suffered from depression or anxiety are at a higher risk of being depressed during pregnancy.
Anti-partum or prenatal depression is the term used for depression during pregnancy. it is one of the most common symptom a woman experience during her pregnancy.
If you are taking anti-depressant medicines during pregnancy, it is important to consult your doctor about the dosage or change in medication. As pregnancy impacts the efficiency of certain medicines.
Antidepressants and birth defects
Some of the common drugs used as anti-depressants are associated with birth defects such as defect in heart, defect in brain, problem in skull formation and abdominal wall defect. There may be a problem in the lungs of a new born.
Antidepressant medicines such as SNRIs (Serotonin- norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) may affect heart, brain and spine in a new born. Cleft lip and cleft palate may also occur.
Tricyclic antidepressants is linked with risk of digestive defect and also may cause defect in eyes, face, ear and neck.
A woman who is already under anti-depressant medication and discontinues the medicines may lead to withdrawal symptoms. She may experience sleep disturbance and problem in digestive system. Gradually depression develops again.
What if depression is left untreated during pregnancy?
We have learnt how anti-depressant medicines may cause birth defects. But this does not indicate that we should avoid depression treatment during pregnancy. If a pregnant woman is under stress or depression, it affects the overall development of the baby. Some women may even have suicidal thoughts.
A pregnant woman under depression is not able to take proper care of the baby in the womb. There are high chances of missing the prenatal appointments. Some women may use substance such as alcohol or other illicit drugs to cope up with depression. This can lead to serious consequences for parents and children.
Untreated depression during pregnancy may cause miscarriage, low birth weight and premature babies. It may also cause hypertension, excess bleeding and one may need caesarean section or vaginal delivery with the help of an instrument.
Should you take Antidepressants during pregnancy?
Yes. One may take antidepressant medicines during pregnancy. We have already learnt the side effects of antidepressants as well as the side effects of untreated depression during pregnancy. The only risk is birth defect.
While taking antidepressants during pregnancy your doctor will try all the measures to make sure your baby’s exposure to medicines is minimum. Psychotherapy works in mild to moderate depression during pregnancy.
If you are diagnosed with depression and you are planning to get pregnant then better consult your healthcare provider. As it is not easy to manage depression during pregnancy. working with your doctor will help you decide the best for you and your baby.