Friday, September 25, 2009

Depression & Pregnancy: ACOG & APA Issue Treatment Guidelines


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Despite nearly one in four pregnant women experiencing depression and 13% of them taking antidepressants at some point during their pregnancies, pregnant women and their physicians have had little information to guide them in making decisions about how to treat the condition. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Psychiatric Association have issued jointly developed guidelines to assist doctors and patients in making decisions about treating depression during pregnancy.

Treatment Guidelines Issued on Depression During Pregnancy

The guidelines say that for many pregnant women talk therapy alone may be adequate and should be offered as an option. However, for women with serious, recurring depression or suicidal tendencies, the risks associated with taking antidepressants are outweighed by the potential for harm to the mother and fetus if her depression remains under treated.

The treatment recommendations reflect the traditional worries about the effects of antidepressants on developing fetuses, but also acknowledge a less common concern about the potential negative effects of untreated depression for both the mother and baby. According to the LA Times article:
Many studies suggest that the depression of a pregnant woman can result in poorer nutrition and prenatal care, earlier birth and a heightened risk that her child will also develop depression.

The guidelines also call on physicians to look for signs of depression in women of childbearing age, which is the population most likely to experience it.
Depression can be difficult to spot in pregnant women because many of the symptoms mimic pregnancy-related symptoms, such as changes in mood and appetite and fatigue. The guidelines also direct doctors to offer the range of treatment options up as possibilities rather than relying solely on prescribing antidepressants.

Related Posts:
SSRIs Pose Little Risk to Unborn
Pregnant Migraineurs at Increased Risk for Stroke
Migraines in Pregnancy Increase Risk of Stroke, Preeclampsia

Sources:
Depression During Pregnancy: Treatment Recommendations
Treatment Guidelines Issued on Depression During Pregnancy

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DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.