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Chelsea at Crunch Gym

Forty Weeks of Fitness!

Chelsea, our pregnancy fitness expert, is a certified personal trainer at Crunch gym in San Francisco, California. She gave birth to her daughter, Madeira Re, in July 2006. Read more

Antidepressants and Pregnancy

Depression is a common affliction among women in general, and pregnant women are no exception. According to the Women’s Mental Health Program at Loyola University Health System, between 12 to 20 percent of pregnant women suffer from depression, and many cases may go undiagnosed.

Many women are concerned about taking antidepressants while pregnant, for fear of harming their unborn child. Studies show, however, that there is no evidence that antidepressants cause any serious problems, and suggest that leaving depression or anxiety untreated during pregnancy may actually have negative effects.

Many studies in the last few years have shown no increase in the incidence of birth defects, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, mental retardation, pre-term labor, or low birth weight with women who take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft during their pregnancy.

However, if depression or anxiety is left untreated during pregnancy, there is an increased likelihood of preterm labor, premature delivery, low-birth weight, and small head circumference. Untreated depression can also inhibit a woman’s ability to care for herself; impair her nutrition; lead to an increase in her use of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs; and interfere with her ability to bond with the child.

Depression during pregnancy is also a strong risk factor for postpartum depression. Women in the United States have a higher incidence of postpartum depression than any other country in the world. This is believed to be caused by shorter maternity leave in this country, women feeling pressured to return to work quickly to help with the family income, fragile support systems, and parents and other family members living far away. Other risk factors for postpartum depression include being a single mother, an unwanted pregnancy, a history of depression and anxiety, and having a child with special needs.

Depression is a serious condition that affects many women. If you are suffering from depression, talk to your doctor about getting treatment. Group therapy and one-on-one counseling with a psychotherapist are also great medication-free ways to deal with depression. Getting proper treatment is important for your health, and the health of your baby.


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