New Recommendations Managing Depression During Pregnancy

It has been estimated that between 14% and 23% of pregnant women will experience depressive symptoms during their pregnancy. An investigation published in 2003 reported that about 13% of women take an antidepressant at some time during their pregnancy. “Depression in pregnant women frequently goes unrecognized and untreated for a host of reasons, including concerns about the safety of some treatments for pregnant patients and their offspring,” says Kimberly A. Yonkers, MD. “There may be risks associated with both untreated depression and the use of antidepressants that can complicate treatment decisions.” A New Review An evidence-based report from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has been published to assist clinicians and patients as they weigh the risks and benefits of various treatment options for depression during pregnancy. The APA and ACOG convened a work group consisting of clinical research experts within the fields of obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, and pediatrics, which critically evaluated and summarized information about risks associated with depression and the use of antidepressants during pregnancy. The resulting recommendations were published jointly in the September 2009 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology and the September/October 2009 issue of General Hospital Psychiatry. “Typically, OB-GYNs, nurse practitioners, and nurse midwives are the clinicians who most often see women who are pregnant,” says Dr. Yonkers. “They can be the first clinician to make a diagnosis of depression in some cases. Other times, they may be the first to observe depressive symptoms that are worsening. In the past, reproductive health practitioners have reported feeling ill-prepared to treat these patients because of the lack of...