Pregnancy: Euphoria, Depression and Anti-depressants
Created by Rachna Swarup Updated on Sep 24, 2021
Are anti depressants safe during pregnancy? No. Not always!
Should you continue to take them? Yes, maybe.
The subject of antidepressants during pregnancy is riddled with confusion and controversy. Traditional wisdom of family and friends would make you believe that motherhood is the happiest event in your life. In most part they are right. But, while motherhood is a fulfilling journey, pregnancy is the most stressful event for a woman’s body. With hormones raging and body structure changing; muscle cramps and nauseous mornings; hunger pangs and food aversions, the body and mind play a peek-a-boo with each other- not always giving a warning before throwing in surprises.
Don’t get me wrong. The anticipation of a healthy and happy baby is indeed the most deserving reward to cope with the stress of pregnancy. But not everyone and not every time can we remove ourselves from the realities of our lives to enjoy this journey! Often family and friends advice that you must stay happy for the well being of the baby This kind of premise and pressure has forced women through the ages to ignore what their bodies, minds and doctors have told them relentlessly- that the well being of their body and mind is paramount.
There is no argument that anti-depressants come with the baggage of side effects and risks. However, often the benefits surpass the risks. One can recall why they started the treatment in the first place. The assessment of whether anti-depressants are a greater risk to the baby or the lack of medication is more detrimental to the mother is not an easy one. Two innocent lives hang in the balance. While we always prefer medical choices in black and white, they seldom are. Each case is different and each body is unique. The duration of depression, the triggers and the severity of the ailment have to weigh in. The kind of medication, the support system, and the risks to the baby have to be considered. But all said and done it is the expectant mother and her doctor who have to draw the line on the sand. Most doctors would be candid and clear in mentioning the risks and would insist on close observations.
No doubt that the mother-child bond is eternal, but motherhood is not a solitary journey. Those who deal with the typical situation of being on anti-depressants during pregnancy must consider these three simple pointers to make the journey smoother.
Rope in family and friends: Family and friends provide the warmth and love much required in this special condition. They can comfort and calm you like no one else. If you can’t always invite them over, consider visiting them regularly or moving in with your mom or sister for a couple of weeks. Engage in groups activities, go out on a picnic or cook a meal together or watch fun films. The time spent would be memorable!
Go for regular counselling: Counselors have a unique training to reveal the harshest truths in the gentlest ways. Regular counselling helps is letting the steam off, sharing your worries and concerns and prevents single lens view by bringing in new perspectives. Consider them as agony aunts and don’t miss the appointments.
Exercise religiously: In the last few years there has been a boom in the health industry and no one needs telling the benefits of working out. From brisk walks on outdoor tracks to yoga and meditation groups, the options are unlimited, even in your condition. Exercise will keep your mind and body healthy. And it will keep you looking your beautiful self!
No matter what strategy you choose, what you must always know is that you can walk this tight rope, and the child will make you forget most worries and set you on a brand new course of happiness and joy!