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healthy-babies-new-study-shows-help-for-depressed-momsNew Study: Anti-depressant use during pregnancy with no impact to first year infant growth.

Pregnancy is supposed to be one of the happiest times in a woman's life. They talk about the glow and vibrance of a pregnant woman, but according to The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists ( ACOG), between 14-23% of women will struggle with some symptoms of depression in pregnancy. Depression is a mood disorder that affects 1 in 4 women and many times during pregnancy. Depression may feel like just another type of hormonal imbalance; however, if left untreated, may lead to more serious consequences for both mom and baby.

Which leads to the discussion of whether or not pregnant mothers should seek help for depression during pregnancy with antidepressant drugs?

A new study from Chicago Northwestern shows that taking antidepressants during pregnancy does not have an impact on an infant's first year of life. Although prior research supporting concerns with antidepressant medications use might hinder physical development of the baby, the newest study released days ago from Northwestern University, shows that although birth weights and measurements may be smaller with depression medications use, the long term effects are not apparent. Smaller, and shorter babies catch up in growth and development wihtin a year to their bigger, longer counterparts. 

Although we may be aware of postpartum depression, depression during pregnancy is real.  Women who have the following risk factors may have a higher incidence of depression during pregnancy. 

  • Stressful life events
  • Past history of emotional or physical abuse
  • Previous pregnancy loss
  • High-risk pregnancies
  • Fertility treatments of family history

If you have any one or some of those factors to above and you are feeling lethargic, sad or other signs of depression during pregnancy, bring this to your doctor's attention.

Premature birth and low infant birth weight, which increases the child's risk of heart disease, are seen in women with depression during pregnancy. A mother's appetite, nutrition and prenatal care may also be affected. Depression untreated may lead to more serious risks to pregnancy, including alcohol and drug use increase.

For more information, the U.S. Office on Women's Health has more about pregnancy and depression.

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