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Pregnant and Depressed

Depression accompanying pregnancy is a topic that receives less discussion than the well-documented postpartum depression.

Depression is not uncommon in pregnant women. Between 14 and 23 percent of pregnant women will experience a depressive episode while pregnant.

In 2003, approximately 13 percent of pregnant women took an antidepressant at some point during their pregnancy. According to background information in an article in the journal General Hospital Psychiatry, this rate has doubled since 1999. Many women go untreated due to concerns regarding the safety of treating pregnant women.

A variety of medical specialists collaborated on the report, “The management of depression during pregnancy: A report from the American Psychiatric Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.”

These authors reviewed the world’s English-language literature and reported results describing the association of depressive symptoms and antidepressant treatment on fetal and neonatal outcomes.

Both depressive symptoms and antidepressant exposure were found to be associated with fetal growth changes and shorter gestations. Short-term neonatal irritability and neurobehavioral changes were also linked with both maternal depression and antidepressant treatment.

Some, but not all, studies reported low rates of fetal malformations with first trimester exposure, but there was no specific pattern of defects for individual medications or class of agents.

“This timely article by Yonkers and colleagues reviews the data on the potential effects of both anti-depressant medications and depressive symptoms on birth and fetal outcomes,” said Wayne J. Katon, MD, editor in chief of General Hospital Psychiatry.

Source: Elsevier

Pregnant and Depressed

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Pregnant and Depressed. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 23, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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