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SSRIs During Pregnancy Does Not Increase Chances Of Infant Death

Alison Wood | 6, January 2013


During the nine months of pregnancy, some women may become depressed. Hormone changes, unplanned pregnancies, less than desirable income and relationships can all overwhelm a pregnant mother and cause her to become regularly disheartened, sad and despondent.

Many times a pregnant women becomes depressed if she has some history of depression previous to the pregnancy. Obstetricians will keep a close eye on a mother that has had a history of depression.

If depression continues to spiral down, a doctor typically prescribes an SSRI. This simply means selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. It is one of the most popular antidepressants on the market.

In the past, studies suggested that these anti-depressants could cause fatal side effects on the baby in the womb as well as newborns. However, the newest studies have shown that SSRIs that are taken during pregnancy do not cause babies to be stillborn or SIDS(sudden infant death syndrome.)

The most recent study used data from Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden. The study analyzed information on 1.6 million women and approximately 30,000 of those women filled a prescription for an SSRI during pregnancy. Among these 1.6 million women, there was not an increase of stillborn babies as a result of the antidepressants taken during pregnancy. In fact, the stillborn cases were at a higher percentage among women that were smokers, were older, had diabetes or had hypertension.

On average, 23 percent of pregnant women will have a bout of depression within their nine months of waiting delivery. This new study is a relief to many pregnant mothers and the families that love them. However, there are still some risks in taking anti-depressants during pregnancy. Some side effects of antidepressants are congenital abnormalities, neonatal withdrawal syndrome and persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn.

The majority of doctors suggest a patient should not be given any prescribed anti-depressants during pregnancy unless the depression is severe. If you are suffering from the beginnings of depression, try these steps to help you bounce back to your cheery self.

Routine exercise is known to boost spirits. Exercise releases endorphins, or happy chemicals, and gets you off to a peppy start for the day. Exercise will also help your self-image as you watch your bump grow, but other parts of your body shape up. Walking, swimming, aerobics and other ways to burn calories will pay off during labor, delivery and postpartum.

Take time everyday to unwind and relax. Light some aromatherapy candles, play some soft music and just relax. Try not to think about anything. Rest your mind and your body. This will help lift your spirits and rejuvenate your fatigued self!

Stay in good company.
Have a lunch date with friends that will pull you up, not down. Avoid the grumblers and complainers during these precious months before your baby arrives.

Avoid stressful relationships.
If one of your friends or family member always brings stress and depression into your life, try to avoid them during this time. If confrontations have to be made, take a friend to support you so all the stress is not on your own shoulders.

Eat healthy.
Junk foods and sugary foods can open the door to depression. Avoid these calorie-laden foods and grab the fruits, veggies, whole wheat, and lean proteins to fight fatigue and depression.

Don't worry!
If you feel you can never be an excellent mother, do not worry! New mommies learn as they go and everyone makes mistakes. Yes, you will mess up, but all mothers do. Remember, you are the best mother for that bambino in your womb. You two were paired perfectly together. Your baby needs you and he needs you to be happy! Focus on making your baby's entrance into this world and the rest of his years full of joy, and in return, you will have joy! There is no greater joy than focusing on making someone else's life more special. You always receive a gift of happiness in return.

If these simple steps do not help, ask your obstetrician for other methods to help in your mild depression. If the depression worsens, do not hesitate to let your doctor know. Your health and the health of the baby are the most important factors in the pregnancy. If there is any doubt if you need professional help talk to your doctor. Severe depression, if left untreated, can cause life-threatening harm to the mother and baby. Fight the depression today and look for a brighter tomorrow!

Alison Wood is a stay-at-home mom of six and freelance writer and blogger. She enjoys raising her six children and desires to share her experiences to help other mothers.

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