There’s a time and a place for Western medicine, and with that, it should always be accompanied by risk vs. benefit and informed consent.
Pregnancy is one time in a woman’s life when hormones (including the thyroid) and life in general have the potential to go wacko. I’ve seen waaaaaaay too many women prescribed antidepressants while pregnant while being assured that it’s “safe” for their baby. In the same appointment, not giving the mama the space/time to talk out the reasons they may be experiencing some anxiety or moody blues, or the extensive labwork to confirm that there isn’t a nutrient or transient hormone imbalance, etc. I’ll also add that it is just not common for a western medicine oriented practitioner to give a mama some healthy options for improving mood/mindset during pregnancy (instead of meds).
For the last year, so much has been finally revealed about SSRIs (cliff notes version: They do not do what the drug manufacturers have stated that they do in the way they’ve been stated that they do it).
You may recognize SSRIs by name: Lexapro (escitalopram), Zoloft (sertraline), Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine), Celexa (citalopram), etc. They are among the most prescribed medications in the USA.
Back to the question. Are taking SSRIs during pregnancy worth it? Informed consent is where this is at….. Would you…. if you knew that prenatal SSRI exposure had an effect on fetal brain development, particularly in brain regions critical to emotional processing, and may be associated with future susceptibility to anxiety disorders, hyperactivity, and maladaptive processing skills? (You can read more about one of these studies here: https://jamanetwork.com/…/jama…/article-abstract/2676821 )
Another representative (there are many) study, (found here: https://jamanetwork.com/…/jama…/article-abstract/2808722 ), has found that antidepressant use in pregnancy is associated with neonatal withdrawal syndrome, preterm birth, congenital disabilities, developmental problems, cardiopulmonary problems, and even death.
How might each of these outcomes have been more likely avoided, had a healthcare professional, listened and gotten a mama plugged into a support community or counseling professional who could have helped her alleviate some of the stressors common in today’s world (and exacerbated by pregnancy)….or run labs and identified a deficiency root cause and addressed that with nutrition and supplementation instead….. or given her coping strategies such as yoga for pregnancy, true nutritional counseling, exercises, calming (and safe!) herbal teas and other non harmful herbal based strategies. ( If you’ve been around the “alternative mindset/ holistically minded community, you know exactly what you’d reach for . And if you haven’t, it’s time to find your tribe who can help you. It’s not healthy living on an island alone.) ?….. instead of prescribing an SSRI.
If you have a helpful healthy tip for an expecting mama, show them some community love, and drop it here.
Mindful Monday friends. Have a great one xoxo~ liz