Harvard Mental Health Letter

Alternatives to antidepressants during pregnancy

Options include psychotherapy, acupuncture, massage, and electroconvulsive therapy.

Although pregnancy is a joyful time for many women, others struggle with depression and other mood disorders. The limited data available suggest that 7.5% of women who become pregnant develop major depression, and another 7% have minor depression, before giving birth.

Consensus is growing that depression during pregnancy should be treated, for the sake of both the mother and the developing fetus. Among other risks, untreated depression during pregnancy increases the likelihood that a woman will have postpartum depression and give birth to a lethargic, irritable baby whose weight is lower than normal.

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