Depression whilst pregnant
Treatment of depression during pregnancy is something that requires deep thought and careful consideration. On the one hand parents, prospective mothers, are concerned that if depression is treated with medicine, there could be a risk of harm to the baby. On the other hand, if someone is depressed, then it may well be that they need treatment of that depression.
Of course, during pregnancy, the optimal way to treat depression is to avoid the prescription of medicine in those people where it is clinically safe. So counselling treatments and psychotherapy can be very effective for some people during depression. Unfortunately, that doesn’t apply for everyone. So in those people who have tried psychological treatments and they haven’t responded to psychological treatment, then they will need to be, or they could need to be a discussion around whether medicine should be prescribed for that depression during pregnancy. And the good news is that quite a number of antidepressants are available that can be used safely during pregnancy provided it’s under careful supervision by an expert in this field. And by that I mean, ideally a psychiatrist who has particular interest in the treatment of depression in people who are pregnant.
Finally, the importance of treating depression during pregnancy one way or the other is critical because the optimal outcome both for the mother and the baby is if that depression is treated. Having untreated depression during depression is not sensible because of the risks that that can create both to the mother and ultimately to the baby with an untreated mental health problem. Finally treating depression when you’re pregnant is actually a sensible step to undertake. Ideally psychological treatment but if that doesn’t work, consideration of prescription medicine antidepressants to treat your depression.
And the reason behind all of this is that untreated depression has an negative impact on the mother’s mental health and indirectly can impact the health of the baby because if someone is depressed when they’re pregnant and that continues after the baby’s born, then the mother in all likelihood is not gonna be able to optimally care for that newborn.
Dr Matthew Cullen, Psychiatrist, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney