Things just got much tougher for pregnant women on (SSRI) antidepressants. Another study, as discussed in today’s NYT, this one with a large sample size (4000+) has made it impossible to discount the evidence linking a mother’s use of SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy with a higher risk for autism in her child. I’ve posted the link below. Pregnant women dealing with severe, moderate or even mild depression face a much more complicated choice with this knowledge in hand. If, as seems advisable, you opt to stop using a SSRI during your pregnancy, please be sure to substitute alternative treatment (psychotherapy, an exercise regimen, a strong support system) and lifestyle changes that help with depression rather than simply opting out without replacing your antidepressants. I mention mildly depressed above because it is commonplace for mild depression to become more severe during and after pregnancy due to hormonal changes and related stresses.
Study Links Autism With Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy
By KJ DELL’ANTONIA
A cautiously worded study based on data collected in Sweden has found that “in utero exposure to both selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (S.S.R.I.’s) and nonselective monoamine reuptake inhibitors (tricyclic antidepressants) was associated with an increased risk of autism spectrum disorders, particularly without intellectual disability.”
Read the New York Times article here:
The Swedish study in BMJ
Six Common Questions (Plus answers with research citations!)
There is constant warfare among and between “experts” and non-experts about the basic facts surrounding depression in adults. This quiz does an excellent job of addressing these frequently debated main points — providing research-based answers. Please read to the end for answers and their sources!
Click here to take this quick quiz
Also on this topic: Do Antidepressants Work? The Answer is Yes!
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Highly recommended article weighing the pro’s and con’s for women making this difficult decision. Here’s an excerpt but definitely read it all.
Untreated depression and anxiety disorders are not risk free during pregnancy and may negatively affect the mother, her baby or both. These disorders may:
1. Affect the mother’s feelings and behavior by increasig anxiety about OB visits or diminish energy levels to the point that prenatal care suffers. Poor appetite or fear of gaining weight may lead to poor nutrition. Depression or intense preoccupation may affect the mother’s ability to bond with her baby.
2. Lead to overuse of harmful substances (like alcohol, nicotine, excessive coffee intake, to name a few) to manage distressing symptoms.
3. Increase the risk of problems like nausea and vomiting, pre-term labor, low birth weight, lower Apgar scores (a measure of the baby’s health immediately after birth), enduring emotional and cognitive changes in the baby and post-partum depression.
• Treatment with antidepressants during pregnancy has also been associated with potential risks. Some are simply side effects of the medications which could be problematic during pregnancy (e.g. excessive weight gain or loss), some (like pre-term labor) are similar to the risks of no treatment. Yet others include an increased risk of miscarriage.
Commentary: Considering Medication When You’re Pregnant And Depressed | CommonHealth.
To Every Mom and Mom-to-be on Mother’s Day: My story is not unusual. My message is not complicated. You have to take care of yourself so you can be there for your children. What’s not simple is how someone who’s in the depths of postpartum depression, and enduring sleepless nights for months on end, can lift herself up far enough and for long enough to understand what must be done to get out of this place. I share my story because I waited far too long to get help.
Start with mine and check out each of the 24 letters being published hourly today to reach out to new mothers who are struggling with depression.
via Victoria Costello: On Why Postpartum Depression Treatment Is Important.
The importance of this new research speaks for itself!
Redei’s research team discovered eleven blood biomarkers for early-onset major depression. Their original work used rats, and they confirmed their results in this small study of humans that included 14 teens with major depressive disorder, and 14 teens without depression. The researchers discovered that they could distinguish between major depression with anxiety and without anxiety, based upon the genetic markers.
“Having an objective test that tells a physician there is a physical, genetic explanation for depression” allows them to treat patients with a precise diagnosis, Redei explains. “Knowing there is an objective reason for their child’s feelings can allow parents and children to understand that depression is an illness, it’s a complicated illness, that is very common, and can be treated.”
via Researcher: Blood test for early-onset depression promising – – CNN.com Blogs.
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A balanced, informed perspective if you’re searching for some sanity on this issue….There is considerable evidence that the decision not to prescribe antidepressants to a woman who is depressed (or likely to have a recurrence of a depression) during pregnancy … Continue reading