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Depression is common during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. If you have symptoms of depression during pregnancy or are depressed and learn you are pregnant, make a treatment plan with your doctor right away.
If you are being treated for depression and are planning a pregnancy, talk to your doctor ahead of time. You may be able to taper off of antidepressant medicine before your pregnancy, to see how you feel during your first trimester. It's best to be medicine-free, especially during the first trimester. But if you are severely depressed, your doctor will probably want you to stay on your medicine.
Don't ever suddenly stop taking an antidepressant. This can cause difficult emotional and physical symptoms and may also affect your fetus. Your doctor can tell you the best way to taper off of your medicine.
If you are not severely depressed, interpersonal counseling or cognitive-behavioral therapy may be all that you need.
If counseling alone isn't enough, or if your symptoms are severe and disabling, talk to your doctor about other possible treatments:
Women who take an SSRI during pregnancy have a slightly higher chance of having a baby with birth defects. But not treating depression can also cause problems during pregnancy and birth. If you become pregnant, you and your doctor must weigh the risks of taking an SSRI against the risks of not treating depression.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an advisory on antidepressant medicines and the risk of suicide. Talk to your doctor about these possible side effects and the warning signs of suicide.
Whether you use counseling, medicine, light therapy, or a combination, be sure to also get regular exercise, healthy food, fresh air, and time with people who care about you. These are all important parts of preventing and treating depression and having a healthy pregnancy.
For information about depression after childbirth, see the topic Postpartum Depression.
Current as of:
February 23, 2022
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Patrice Burgess MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineLisa S. Weinstock MD - Psychiatry
Current as of: February 23, 2022
Patrice Burgess MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Lisa S. Weinstock MD - Psychiatry
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
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