Anti-depressants During Pregnancy

Frequently eat healthy meals and snacks. Keeping your blood sugar levels even can balance your mood.
Up your omega-3's. Eating the right kinds of fats minimizes your risk for depression, during and after pregnancy. Avocados, olives, salmon and flax seed contain omega 3's, but it's hard to get enough just from foods during pregnancy. If your prenatal vitamin contains under 3000mg, you might want to ask your midwife or doctor about taking a supplement.
Drink more water. Water's important for your mental health. Dehydration can cause anxiety, so bring along your water bottle and sip on it all day.
Take a hike. The American College of Gynecologists recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day during pregnancy. Expectant moms who exercise have less depressive symptoms than mom who do not. Are you on bedrest? Talk with your provider and put together a routine to keep your muscles tones and your mood elevated.

Therapy is an important part of treatment. Research demonstrates that working with a therapist helps. These professionals can provide support and compassion and help you consider other resources for your well-being. Even if you don't have a mood disorder, but are at high risk for one, you might want to be proactive and check in every now and then during your pregnancy just for peace of mind.

Medication for Depression

If you're suffering clinical depression, you might be prescribed medication deemed "safe" during pregnancy (and/or breastfeeding). According to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, almost 4% of pregnant women take anti-depressants at some point during the first trimester. Some of the most common include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), especially Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Luvox, or Celexa, and an SNRI, Effexor, or their generic forms.

While the overall risks of birth defects or other problems to mom/baby are low, these risks should be carefully considered by doctor and patient.

  • Expectant moms taking certain anti-depressants have a 68% increase in risk of early pregnancy loss
  • When taken in early pregnancy, some increased risk of fetal heart defects
  • When taken late in pregnancy, some association with birth defects of the heart, brain, and abdominal organs
  • Low increased risk of limb malformations
  • Increased chance of preterm labor
  • Slight association with a grave lung problem in newborns known as persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN)
  • Rare cases of infant deaths might be related to use of Effexor during pregnancy
  • Newborns may experience withdrawal symptoms (irritable and overly nervous) shortly after birth
  • New studies suggest anti-depressants during pregnancy increase rates of autism, ADHD, or other learning disabilities

There is a large variety of options, dosages, and prescriptive treatments available. There are those that could be safer for your body and better choices for your circumstances. We still strongly suggest talking with your personal healthcare provider, researching your choices, and make the best choice for you and your baby.

Alternative Treatments

Pregnant patients diagnosed with mild to moderate depression may be able to explore alternative therapy options to decrease risks and improve their overall mental, emotional, and physical well-being. This non-exhaustive list includes:

  • Counseling / physiotherapy
  • Relaxation or meditation techniques
  • Aromatherapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Acupuncture or reflexology
  • Biofeedback
  • Herbal remedies
  • Exercise regimes
  • Yoga
  • Hypnosis / guided imagery
  • Music therapy
  • Chiropractic treatment

These options are not effective in dealing with more serious forms of depression and could pose a greater risk for those patients than going untreated.

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with depression seek help. It isn't a sign of "weakness" or mean that you're failing as an expectant or new mom. The best gift you can give your child and yourself is a healthy mom -- physically and mentally!

What have been your challenges? Tell us in the comments!

Copyright ©


I am so sorry to hear that mybabies81 - you might want to meet with a care provider to help you!

I am so very,very depressed I really need help controllong this I HATE being this way!!!