There have been countless studies to date that demonstrate the serious risks of women taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs- a class of antidepressants) during pregnancy. The drugs have been linked to preterm delivery, miscarriage, and increased risk of behavioral issues, autism, and seizures in the child. And for every medial story we see covering these risks, we see a disclaimer about the risks of women going off their anti-depressants. What these arguments in favor of SSRI’s fail to recognize is that there are very real and very effective ways to help depressed women through pregnancy without the use of drugs.
An estimated one-in-ten adults in the United States takes anti-depressants, and the majority of these are SSRI’s. They are the most popular prescription drugs, and people of all ages and all walks of life take them—this includes women who are pregnant.
These wildly popular drugs have wildly dangerous effects, however. It’s been estimated that anywhere from 15 to 30% of babies born to mothers who took SSRIs while pregnant have some neurobehavioral problem. These babies are also far more likely to be born preterm or to not be born at all. And often times, women are not being warned of these effects.
Many within mainstream medicine would argue that the risks of going off of antidepressants while pregnant are greater than staying on them—that a depressed woman is less likely to get her regular check-ups, to eat right, or take care of herself. But, to them, we say—these women are not living in a bubble.
In modern times, we have taken independence to whole new, and frightening levels. There was a time when women would gather around a pregnant woman to help her ensure she would deliver a healthy baby and keep her healthy mind in tact throughout the wild ride of pregnancy. What is missing for many women now is that support system.
We know depression is not a simple case of the blues. But we also know that it’s not just a “chemical imbalance” as many doctors would have you think. Time and time again, you can find cases of people successfully beating depression through natural means—including diet, herbs, exercise, and behavioral therapy when warranted.
Antidepressants During Pregnancy? Try Some Other Solutions
As it stands, if a woman is depressed and finds out she is pregnant, she will ask her doctor and may do some internet research on the topic. What she’ll find is very conflicting information. Here’s to hoping that increasing coverage of the risks of these drugs will lead to a greater amount of information on natural ways to treat depression—both for the sake of the pregnant woman and her unborn child.
Medication during pregnancy simply may not be the best idea. Here are a few tips to shake yourself of depressive feelings:
- Try acupuncture
- Try yoga
- Boost your vitamin D levels by spending time in the sun or supplementing with vitamin D3
- Avoid junk food, fast food, and soda
- Engage in some physical activity
- Take life more lightly