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If you are pregnant and stressed or wonder if you are depressed, you are not alone.
Research shows that up to 33 percent of women experience depression or an anxiety disorder at some point during pregnancy. But fewer than 20 percent of those women seek treatment and only 13.8 percent get the proper treatment they need.
“The myth that pregnant women must be happy is still really prevalent,” Healy Smith, M.D., a reproductive psychiatrist at the Women’s Mental Health Clinic said. “Because of that, treatment providers may be less likely to inquire into a woman’s mental state, and a woman might feel ashamed to bring it up.”
Often times it may seem like medication and antidepressants are the only source of depression treatment out there. This can be troubling for some women who do not want to take antidepressant drugs during pregnancy for safety reasons.
Stigma and fear of being judged can also sometimes prevent pregnant women from getting the help they need to treat their stress and depression. Reaching out for help can be difficult, but there are a number of options and forms of alternative treatment out there to help on the road to recovery.
Psychotherapy, also known as “talk therapy,” focuses on the unconsciousness and its relationship with human behavior. A skilled therapist can use a series of questions and exercises to teach their patients new approaches to managing thoughts and emotions.
Omega-3 essential fatty acids have been found to have therapeutic benefits when treating depression during pregnancy. It plays an important role in the development and function of the central nervous system and can act as a natural mood-booster. You can find omega-3 fatty acids in fish and walnuts.
Light therapy exposes people to artificial sunlight at different times during the day in order to relieve depression symptoms. Used often to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD), light therapy can also be helpful to pregnant women who want an alternative to antidepressant drugs. “Light acts on pathways in the brain in the same way that antidepressants do,” according to a study con light therapy and pregnant women conducted in 2011.
Acupuncture involves placing tiny needs into areas of the body thought in order to stimulate the body and elevate the mood. A study conducted in 2010 in which 150 women underwent acupuncture treatment showed their depression symptoms improve.
Finding the right form of treatment for you is critical, experts say. With several alternatives to antidepressant treatment available, pregnant women have more opportunities to cope with depression in order to secure their and their child’s well-being.
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