New Mothers Urged to Continue with Prescribed Antidepressants

antidepressantsA new study has found that women who are taking antidepressant medicines are more successful at breastfeeding while on medicine compared to when not taking it.[1] Still, there are concerns that every expectant and new mother should discuss with their physician regarding whether or not their antidepressant is appropriate for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Analyzing the data from the Danish National Birth Cohort in Denmark, researchers from the University of Adelaide studied the outcomes of 368 women who were on antidepressants before they became pregnant.1

“We found that two-thirds of the women stopped taking their antidepressant medication either after becoming pregnant or during breastfeeding, ” said Luke Grzeskowiak, PhD. “A third of the women continued to take antidepressant medication throughout their pregnancy and while breastfeeding, and these women were much more successful at maintaining breastfeeding up to and beyond the recommended six months. In contrast, those women who had stopped taking antidepressants were also more likely to stop breastfeeding within the recommended six months.”1

According to Grzeskowiak, the health benefits of continued breastfeeding greatly outweigh any perceived risk to the baby from antidepressant medicines;1 however, it is still a conversation to have with your physician to decide whether or not it is right for you and your baby.

“This is a really important message because we know that breastfeeding has immense benefits for the child and the mom herself, including a degree of protection against postnatal depression,” said Grzeskowiak. “The amount of antidepressant medication that finds its way into a mother’s breast milk is very low. On the balance of it, we believe that continuing to take antidepressant medication and maintaining regular breastfeeding with be the best outcome for both the baby and the mother.”1

Many women struggle with the decision about what to do with medicines during pregnancy and lactation,1 and a trusted physician’s advice about their own unique situation is still the best.

“If they are taking antidepressants, they should be supported and encouraged by family members, friends, and health care professionals to continue with their medication, knowing that good breastfeeding outcomes are all-important for them and their child,” said Grzeskowiak.1

[1] Nauert, R. (2014). New Moms on Antidepressants Urged to Stay On Them. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 14, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/04/11/new-moms-on-antidepressants-urged-to-stay-on-them/68382.html

One Comment

  • Sergey

    April 25, 2014, 1:03 pm

    When i finally went to the doctor about my depression, i knew that i was very unwell, and i wanted drugs- i wanted to take some pills and make it all go away. i walked away from my appointment relieved that it was All Going To Be Okay. But time went on, and it wasn’t. i went back. As i hadn’t responded to ONE trial of ONE baseline dose of generic antidepressant. Seven years and over eight different prescriptions later, my notes reading like a veritable Who’s Who’ of SSRIs, i have to conclude that i am most probably one of the 30-50% of sufferers who are treatment-resistant. i went from drug to drug, hoping, hoping, hoping that it would be The One, but it wasn’t to be. If there had been other options, i wouldn’t have had to force myself onto yet another drug regimen, which would make me sick/lose/gain/sleep constantly, generally suck all the life out of me, but there were never other options, it was this tablet, that tablet, or nothing at all. It sucks that there’s no magic pill for me, but I’m old enough and wise enough now to realize that a quick-fix is not going to work for me, that my depression stems from things which need to be worked through, not temporarily numbed. i hate depression, but without the drugs, at least i finally know who and how i am. Now i wait my turn for therapy.And i wait.Too many people fear the judgement of a society which doesn’t accept the ill- which views depressives as weak or lazy- so they don’t get help soon enough, and too few agencies focus on the importance of early intervention to help. Too many people aren’t aware of the options they have, or the fact that they have rights to access those options. Ultimately too many people take antidepressants because it is the only option they have; the only hope to cling to in an immediacy which is all too painful, a world that is more and more unforgiving.

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