Pregnant Women Who Are Depressed Prefer Therapy Over Medication

I was not surprised to read the results of a study that confirms a conviction I have long held. The latest report, published in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice, found that pregnant women who were depressed preferred being treated with therapy rather than medication.

That should be no revelation. After all, women are not only concerned about the effect medications would have on their own health, but also on the well being of their unborn child.

To learn women’s opinions, researchers conducted interviews with 61 pregnant women at 32 weeks’ gestation. About half of the participants were deemed clinically depressed. The study found that most women would only consider using antidepressant medications during pregnancy as a “last resort.” They listed their concerns about medications as: fear of adverse effects on the developing baby, withdrawal symptoms, premature delivery, the potential of the infant becoming dependent on the medications, and subsequent childhood learning problems.

Additionally, the women expressed anxiety about their own feelings of shame, guilt, and confusion about using drugs during pregnancy.

When their options were alternative treatments such as yoga, exercise, and light therapy, the pregnant women were more enthusiastic. To this list, I’d add psychotherapy, support groups, mindfulness techniques, and other more natural remedies.

One result of the study, which was conducted at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Butler Hospital, and Women & Infants’ Hospital of Rhode Island, is the recommendation that clinicians who provide care for pregnant women be given enhanced support and training. With more education, Primary Care Physicians, Obstetricians, and Gynecologists might be less likely to jump to prescribe medications and be better prepared to steer women towards a choice that could lessen their unease. And, importantly, many of these non-drug treatments, such as psychotherapy, have been found to effectively treat depression.

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~ by ppdsus on December 13, 2013.

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