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Women prefer therapy over medication during pregnancy

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According to an article published in Journal of Psychiatric Practice, women with depression during the perinatal period prefer therapies rather than antidepressants drugs. These are the results of a preliminary study conducted by Cynthia L. Battle, PhD, of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Butler Hospital, on women’s preferences and decisions about depression treatment during and after birth.

The researchers wanted to see the impact of prenatal and maternal use of antidepressants drugs on fetus and newborn. It was noted that half of the women in the study suffered from depression;  these were further surveyed to evaluate their experiences and preferences regarding treatment of depression. Researchers have found that depression is more common in younger women and in those with lower socioeconomic status. It was also showed that depressed women were more likely to be single and that they had a high level of anxiety.

The study also showed that even though 70% of women who suffer from depression received some form of treatment during pregnancy, they reported conflicting feelings regarding treatment of depression during pregnancy. It seems that women who were uncertain regarding the treatment had higher levels of depression and were less likely to adhere to treatment.

medication during pregnanc

The researchers also found that among pregnant women who suffer from depression there are concerns about the treatment of this condition during pregnancy. Although it was shown that there are some women who had positive feelings about the treatment, most preferred psychotherapy or alternative therapies, so non-drug treatments. Many of the women said they would use drugs for depression during pregnancy only as a last alternative. Their concerns were related to possible adverse effects on the fetus, premature delivery or learning problems during childhood. Also, women in the study also reported feelings of guilt, shame and concerns about the fact that the child could become addicted to these drugs antidepressants.

All women included in the study, with or without depression, were asked what kind of treatment they would prefer if they would suffer from postpartum depression. Most of them said they would prefer psychotherapy rather than medication because of the possible adverse effects of drugs on breastfeeding. These concerns about the use of drugs during pregnancy have also been reported in previous studies. Indeed, among pregnant women there is a general concern about the possible adverse effects of drugs during pregnancy. Researchers concluded that is “a need for greater decisional support for depressed perinatal women who are grappling with difficult treatment decisions, as well as enhanced support and training for clinicians who provide care for these patients”.