Treating depression in pregnancy

August 21, 2009 2:42:03 PM PDT
The first-ever concrete guidelines are released to help doctors and patients decide the best way to treat depression in pregnancy.

The guidelines are a joint effort by the American Psychiatric Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

As many as 23-percent of pregnant women will experience depression. And while treating with medication comes with risks,doctors say not treating depression can also cause problems.

"It's been shown women untreated in depression can have smaller babies and there are issues after delivery with slower development," Dr. Dana Farabaugh of Drexel University College of Medicine OB/GYN said.

The new guidelines show for some patients with severe, recurrent depression, it may be safer to treat with medication. Other women may do well with psychotherapy.

The guidelines also call for open communication between the OB doctor, a psychiatrist and the patient.

"You need to treat all the aspects of the patient and communication is the best way to go about that," Dr. Farabaugh said.

To read more on the guidelines, visit: www.psych.org

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