Posted by Deborah Pujoue on August 17, 2011
I don’t know if there is a such thing as “partum depression” (depression during pregnancy) like there is post-partum depression, but I am growing more aware of the fact that being pregnant causes some women to become depressed even when they didn’t show signs of depression before that. Must be hormones. My girlfriend is going through that now, and with all of the birth defects linked to pregnant women taking antidepressants, she is less than thrilled at the option. So I decided to look up other ways to treat her symptoms without using antidepressants.
What I found was a study from last year that reported that acupuncture is used to treat depression while pregnant without the side effects that pills like Prozac, Zoloft, Effexor and Lexapro contain. The study was conducted at Stanford University, with researchers interviewing 150 depressed women who were between 12 to 30 weeks pregnant. The researchers then randomly had 52 of them receive acupuncture that was specifically designed for treating depression symptoms. Then 49 of the women received regular acupuncture treatments and the other 49 women received a Swedish massage (I like the sound that one).
The women each received 12 sessions that lasted for 25 minutes apiece. The study concluded that the women who were given acupuncture treatments didn’t know which one they were getting, but with the depression acupuncture treatment, the needles were inserted at body points that are supposed to be linked to symptoms of depression like anxiety, withdrawal and apathy. Now here’s the cool part; after eight weeks, nearly two-thirds of the women that used the depression-centered acupuncture treatment had their depression symptoms reduced by half compared to the other women who were treated with massage or regular acupuncture.
Results like that study, which was published in Obstetrics & Gynecology’s March 2010 issue, make me wonder: Why risk the birth defects? These are serious conditions we’re talking about, including heart defects, PPHN (Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn), neural tube defects, etc. — all from taking antidepressants when something as natural as acupuncture can help?. As odd as it may sound as a treatment, it’s worth a try — especially when you consider that more recent studies have suggested antidepressants don’t work any better than placebos, anyway.