There’s a one in four chance that a woman will suffer from depression during her life. And given this statistic, there’s a fair chance that depression may coincide with pregnancy. So what should women who take drugs to manage their depression do if they want to have a baby, or if they find themselves pregnant?
Opinion surrounding the use of antidepressant drugs during pregnancy has changed over the years. But in recent times healthcare professionals are reporting more and more cases of successful pregnancies – even when the mother has continued to take her medication.
Indeed, a large-scale study of over a million women in Northern Europe shows that with careful medical control taking antidepressants need not increase the risk of stillbirth.
But scare stories prevail. And there is a danger that negative media coverage may encourage women to stop taking their medication – without consulting their physician. Academics have called for doctors to keep a careful eye on research in this field, as new investigations bring new findings to light.
Mothers-to-be need clear advice to make the right decision for them and their child. The Black Dog Institute, which specializes in researching depression and mood-related disorders, is one source of such advice. Its depression and pregnancy fact sheet weighs up both sides of the argument – but always directs women to their doctors for a personal consultation.