Antenatal Depression May Pose Dilemma For Women Taking Antidepressants

In a 5,700-word piece, the New York Times Magazine (5/31, MM35, Solomon) reports that “antenatal depression, or depression suffered during pregnancy…affects up to 15 percent of expectant women.” When the condition is severe, it poses a dilemma for women who are taking antidepressant medications, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Many women are afraid to take them for fear of harming the fetus. Untreated depression, however, has “been linked in multiple studies to miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, preterm birth, neonatal complications and smaller newborns.”

What’s more, maternal depression may “alter a newborn’s amygdala…while high levels of stress during pregnancy are associated with cognitive impairment and slowed language development.” Women should consult with their physicians on what to do. In some cases, cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy may provide a medication-free alternative.

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— “The Secret Sadness of Pregnancy With Depression,” Andrew Solomon, New York Times Magazine, May 28, 2015.

Posted in In The News.