Maintaining Good Health Even When You're Busy

Should You Stop Taking Antidepressants Before And During Pregnancy?

by Caitlin Obara

If you are currently taking any type of antidepressant for help with the depression or anxiety you suffer from, you may wonder if you should stop taking the medication if you want to become pregnant. There are risks involved with stopping the medication and risks involved with continuing to take the medication, and you will need to talk to your doctor about what is right for you. Here are a few things you should understand about this.

Depression during pregnancy can affect the baby

The first thing to consider is how your body, and particularly your mind, would respond if you stopped taking the antidepressant you are currently on. If you suffer from mild depression, you might be able to stop taking it without having any adverse effects. On the other hand, if you have major depression and stop taking your medication, it could lead to severe depression.

The problem with this is that suffering from severe depression during pregnancy is harmful for your baby. Depression may make you act differently, and this could result in developing bad habits during your pregnancy. For example, some people turn to drugs or alcohol when they are depressed, and turning to these things can harm you and your baby. Other people have trouble sleeping when they are depressed, and a lack of sleep is not good during pregnancy.

Another thing to realize is that depression leads to higher levels of cortisol in the brain, which is a stress hormone. This hormone is linked to premature births and low birth weights in babies. This is a risk you would take if you left your depression untreated during your pregnancy.

Taking antidepressants does not pose major health risks

The second thing to realize is that taking certain types of antidepressants during pregnancy is considered relatively safe. While there are some risks involved with this, the risks are very low. For example, a Canadian study revealed that women had a higher risk of having a child with autism if they were on antidepressants when pregnant; however, the results showed that this risk was extremely low.

The bottom line is that you must weigh your risks

The main thing to realize is that this is an individual decision to make, and there are risks either way. Before you decide which route to take, you should evaluate which option would have the lowest risks for problems. Once you do this, you might have a clearer idea as to which path you should choose. If you would like to learn more about prenatal care and pregnancy, contact a gynecologist--such as one from Bhupathy Vellore R MD-Women's Medical Group--today.