30 percent of women experience clinical depression or an anxiety disorder at some time during pregnancy. Yet some studies indicate that fewer than 15 percent seek treatment, says Healy Smith, M.D., a reproductive psychiatrist at the Women’s Mental Health Clinic at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. The myth that pregnant women must be happy is still really prevalent, Dr. Smith explains. Because of that, treatment providers may be less likely to inquire into a woman’s mental state, and a woman might feel ashamed to bring it up.
It is important that pregnant women don’t suffer. Often there is a thought of needing to be a martyr for the sake of my baby. Followed by I can’t take and depression or anxiety medication, my baby will have birth defects. Therefore, pregnant women continue to power on and wipe away the tears and hide in the bathroom; shaking when an anxiety attack takes hold.
Is there really the need to suffer for the sake of the baby? Is there another way and is it safe?
Safe Pregnancy SSRIs
There are several SSRIs that have been linked to an increase in the risk of birth defects. Researchers found some birth defects occur about two or three times more frequently among babies born to women who took certain SSRI medications, like fluoxetine and paroxetine, early in pregnancy. However, links between birth defects and other SSRIs, like sertraline, were not found in this CDC study and other similar studies.
Therefore, Sertraline or Zoloft is considered safe for pregnancy. It is on the approved pregnancy medication list in most countries. Your doctor is the first point of call when you are suffering from a serious depression or anxiety. He or she will help you navigate through best SSRIs or steer you towards pregnancy safe alternatives.
Pregnancy Safe SSRIs Alternatives
If your depression or anxiety is mild and you wish to give some natural alternatives a fair shot, here is the list of the best non-medicated pregnancy anxiety and depression treatments.
These essential fatty acids, which are found in foods such as oily fish and walnuts, and can act as a natural mood-booster.
A Chinese practice that involves placing tiny needles into areas of the body to influence the flow of the body and also mood. There are many convincing studies helping showing successful results.
Studies have shown that exercise can be as beneficial as anti-depressants in treating depression. However, if you are feeling depressed, dragging yourself off to exercise can seem like a monumental task. Start small and go for a short walk, to get your blood pumping and the endorphins flowing.
It is true that sunshine warms the soul. And there’s good reason for that. From exposure to sunlight, our bodies are able to produce vitamin D.
Patients are exposed to artificial sunlight at specific times of the day to help relieve depression symptoms, particularly helpful for season affective disorder.
Some depression during pregnancy may be caused by vitamin deficiencies. B-complex vitamins, in particular, are essential to our mental and emotional well-being. Our bodies do not store B vitamins and so we depend entirely on our daily intakes of these important vitamins to supply them. With the baby consuming so much, it is important to eat well by eating foods that are high in vitamins, especially B vitamins.
Eating foods that provide tryptophan might thus help raise serotonin levels and improve mood during pregnancy without the risks of taking a dietary supplement. Foods with tryptophan include turkey, chicken, milk, turnip and collard greens, potatoes, pumpkin, sunflower seeds and seaweed. Consuming seaweed in the form of uncooked sushi is not recommended.
In this study, researchers found that pregnant women had experienced a substantial decline in their anxiety disorder symptoms. In addition, they concluded that these pregnant women experienced a similar decline in their depression symptoms.
The Hypnobirthing Home Study Course specifically combines many CBT techniques in this birth preparation method. It also outlines more natural ways to gain a mood boost in pregnancy.