Posted by The Vigilant Mom on January 11, 2012
Antidepressants can be helpful for people suffering from severe depression, but a growing number of people believe these medications are over prescribed. The use of antidepressants among women is of particular concern, since many of the most popular medications have been linked to serious fetal birth defects. For example, Zoloft birth defects include anencephaly, craniosynostosis, omphalocele, septal heart defects, and persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn.
Alternative therapies such as yoga may be an option to consider.
The best way to learn yoga is from a qualified instructor who can provide the coaching you need to achieve proper form and maximum benefits from your practice. However, if you do not live near a yoga studio or do not feel comfortable attending a formal class, there are many excellent DVDs available for beginners. For example, Rodney Yee and Patricia Walden are two highly respected instructors who have released DVDs for beginning yoga practitioners.
Sun Salutations are recommended as one of the best yoga exercises for treating depression, although the Bridge Pose, Camel Pose, and full backbends may also be useful. Including meditation and chanting as part of your yoga practice can be helpful in coping with depression, since these techniques reduce stress and overall anxiety levels.
Yoga is considered safe for pregnant women with no pregnancy-related medical complications. However, if you are expecting a baby, you will need to follow a routine that is designed specifically for expectant mothers. Maternity yoga modifies poses to accommodate your expanding belly and the physical limitations of pregnancy.
If you are currently taking an antidepressant, you should not stop your medication without consulting your healthcare provider. Abruptly discontinuing antidepressant use can create unpleasant side effects for many women. However, if you are concerned about cardiac defects, limb defects, and neural tube defects associated with antidepressant use among expectant mothers, ask your doctor if yoga or other alternative therapies may be an option for you to consider.