A study released last week shows promising results for pregnant women suffering from depression. According to the research, published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, acupuncture is effective in treating depression holistically in pregnant women. The information showing that holistic treatment for depression includes acupuncture comes at a time when growing research is questioning the safety of anti-depressant use during pregnancy.
Acupuncture as Holistic Treatment for Depression
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, as many as 14% of pregnant women will develop “significant” depression at some point in their pregnancy. While post-partum depression is more talked about, the numbers are similar whether you recently gave birth or are still pregnant.
Acupuncture is the use of small needles on specific points on the body, called acupuncture points. It’s been used successfully in pain management, depression and anxiety, and even addiction. It is based on ancient Chinese medicine, though can be found offered in most major cities across the United States and the world.
The study researchers showcasing how effective this holistic treatment for depression can be took 150 clinically depressed pregnant women and put them into three treatment groups. One group received massage for eight weeks, another received acupuncture specifically designed for depression, and the other received general acupuncture (not specifically applied for depression).
The group of women who received acupuncture for depression showed the most promising results—with 63% responding to treatment, compared with 44% in the other two treatment groups.
Prescription antidepressants have largely been marketed as safe during pregnancy, and many women have opted for these drugs without looking into alternatives. Now, as more research is done on the effects of antidepressants in pregnant women and on any individual as a whole , it’s crucial that alternatives are made available and their benefits made widely known. In fact, antidepressants have even been shown to make individuals more depressed and ignite suicidal thoughts.
Scientists have found that women who take antidepressants late in their pregnancy may be putting their unborn child at risk as well. The risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension, in particular, has been shown to be more prevalent in infants whose mothers used antidepressants.
Mood swings during pregnancy are completely normal; your hormones go through many changes when you are carrying a child. Depression, however, is not a simple mood swing. One only needs to look at the number of antidepressant commercials on in a given evening to know that many Americans suffer from this affliction—10% of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
A holistic treatment for depression like acupuncture should be taken seriously by patients even when physicians don’t offer such solutions. Most medical doctors act as the long-arm of the pharmaceutical industry, so we can’t be surprised when they don’t discuss natural medicine and alternative therapies.