You should think you are not alone. Statistics show that more than one in 10 women of childbearing age suffer from bouts of depression. The good news is that with right treatment, women with depression can have perfectly normal pregnancies. The biggest question is whether or not to use treatment, and if yes, which kind, during pregnancy. Together with your psychiatrist you will need to weight up the risks and benefits of taking – and not taking – your medication while pregnant. “Untreated depression can lead to harmful behaviours such as smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, poor prenatal medical care and suicidal risk – all of which are extremely harmful to the baby too,” explains obstetrician, Dr. Elmarie Basson. These factors combined with the effect of excessive anxiety and stress have been linked in same studies to an increase in pre-term, ompaired attachment and language and cognitive deficits. All this may feel like doom and gloom, but the bottom line is, according to Dr. Basson, “You do not need to stop medication in the first trimester have a 68 percent chance of a relapse, compared to 28 percent of patients who maintained medications.”
You can, in close consultation with your healthcare practicitioner and psychiatrist, find the most suitable medications for your pregnancy.
Remember that you can also supplement your medication with exercise (to release those feel-good hormones), medication, massages, acupuncture (to manage stress), and by following a healthy diet (to keep your blood sugar level and boost your mood)- all this can help alleviate depression. Treating depression effectively and keeping it under control during pregnancy can help you nurture yourself and bond with your developing baby.