Whether you've weaned yourself off antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication in anticipation of becoming pregnant and are reluctant to begin your medications again until after you've delivered, or have developed depression for the first time while dealing with the hormonal swings and bodily changes that come with creating new life, you may be disappointed to find the absence of conclusive scientific evidence about the effects of antidepressant use during pregnancy. While severe depression can pose many more risks (both to you and your baby) than the use of antidepressants, there are some natural treatments that have been shown to reduce the symptoms of mild to moderate depression during pregnancy and even improve birth outcomes without any risk of harmful side effects. Read on to learn more about some ways you can treat depression during pregnancy without the use of mood-altering drugs.
Treating mild depression symptoms is only one of the many benefits pregnancy massage can provide. During pregnancy, particularly the second and third trimesters, the pressure of your baby and the increase of fluid in your tissues can cause sciatic nerve pain that may make it difficult to walk, sit, or lie for long periods of time. Massage can help relieve this pain and pressure, giving you increased mobility and helping you concentrate on the more enjoyable parts of your pregnancy.
The massage process will also release endorphins, which are the antidepressant hormones produced by your own body. You'll likely feel lighter and more capable of tackling any obstacles that come your way for hours or even days after each massage session, and this treatment should be safe to continue all the way to (and even through) labor.
Another way to release your body's own natural antidepressants is to undergo acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in managing some of the problems that come with pregnancy, from pelvic pain to sleep disturbances. Whether you're already dealing with other aches and pains that drive you to seek acupuncture treatment or want to pursue acupuncture to deal with depression alone, you may be able to find some benefit in this brief and relaxing therapy.
Vitamin D lamps
Your body needs a great deal more Vitamin D than normal during pregnancy, and if you're pregnant during the winter months, you may find yourself battling seasonal depression due in part to Vitamin D deficiency -- even if you take a prenatal supplement. Adding to your Vitamin D consumption by getting a sun lamp can help you manage your depression symptoms while ensuring your unborn child gets all the vitamins he or she needs.