One of the hardest thing for a woman is to deal with the depression during her pregnancy. What’s worse for her is the decision whether to go for antidepressants or not. Because high levels of stress hormones put harmful effects on the baby. On the other hand, antidepressants have their own consequences too.
It has been found that taking antidepressants during pregnancy is linked to an increased risk of preterm birth. Researchers firmly believe that the medication is to blame for this.
Studies show that the most common antidepressant pregnant women use as a medication is Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). Doctors say that taking medication to cure depression is a wise choice in some cases. But numerous studies show SSRIs are potentially linked to fetal cardiac arrest and premature birth. Thus, many women with mild-to-moderate depression are now looking forward to drug-free alternatives, and are finding significant success.
Outcomes of Doing Nothing:
Clinically depressed women tend to have a poorer diet and improper sleep habits. They are less likely to take their prenatal vitamins and visit their doctor. In fact, they incline more towards undesirable habits like smoking and drinking.
Meanwhile, most pregnant women prefer to take medication or do nothing to win over depression until the baby is born. Women want to get to the end of the pregnancy and don’t try for any treatment. But depression can prove to be harmful to both you and your baby if not cured immediately.
Studies suggest that excess exposure to stress hormones like cortisol in the womb can influence the development of a baby’s stress-response system and impair the growth of neurons.
So, if you are experiencing symptoms of depression and your doctor suggests that medication is not the best option or the only option, there are several drug alternatives that could help you bring down your depression.
Bright-light therapy is the most intriguing and emerging alternative of medication. In this therapy, a mom-to-be spends around one hour each morning in front of a specialized artificial light.
Intense, bright light reduces the onset of the evening production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Further, it helps reset your circadian rhythm that controls from sleep-wake cycles to hormonal fluctuations in your body.
According to a study published in 2011 in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry outlines that 13 out 16 moderately depressed women receiving light therapy for five weeks showed at least 50% improvement in symptoms. Additionally, 4 of them stopped being depressed completely- with no side effects.
Yoga and Meditation:
Mindfulness-based meditation classes blend gentle yoga poses with supervised meditation exercises and group discussions to help expectant women to become less judgemental of their thoughts and feelings. This further helps mom-to-be to become more in tune with the body.
In an experiment, it was found that depressed woman who participated in a 12 week mindfulness-based yoga class experienced a significant decrease in their depressive symptoms and scored higher on the tests analyzing how close they felt to their unborn baby.
Acupuncture, Magnetic Stimulation and Omega-3s:
Another research conducted on 150 pregnant, depressed women found that acupuncture is way more effective than massage or placebo in reducing symptoms of depression. And a number of trials tell that supplementing it with even 300 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acid in the form of DHA not only help decrease depression but also prevent from postpartum.
These are some of the overwhelming results that push the idea of using drug alternatives in place of medication. However, several studies and researches are being conducted to find the cure for depression of either type, mild or moderate. Researchers are developing new therapies. But the important thing is to recognize a depressed, pregnant woman and encourage her to seek proper treatment. This way she can take good care of her and the baby.