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Antidepressants during pregnancy can be tricky.

November 2, 2012

            For a long time women who suffer from depression and become pregnant are told that it is safer for both mother and child for the women to stay on their medication during pregnancy. There is a new study out by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Metrowest Medical Center in Framingham, Massachusetts that is challenging such advice. This article talks about the risks to the pregnancy but also alludes to the fact that each woman is different thus in the same breath telling women that if they are severely depressed they should probably stay on the antidepressants as to try to avoid developing postpartum depression.

            I find this article very frustrating, and I am not an expectant mother with depression in which case this article would be down right confusing. They introduce this new study but hardly discuss what its about, all the while defending the use in some cases. I think this goes back to what we were talking about in class, about context and social comparison. How is a woman supposed to interpret such a jumble of information, especially when she feels like she is severely depressed? How can anyone tell someone that what they are feeling is not accurate, and in the case that a doctor convinces a women to go off anti depressants until after the birth and then that women develops postpartum depression, did that advice do any good for the women, or just the doctors conscience?

            While I do think studies like this are important for the health of current and future generations, I think this article is a prime example of how confusing mental illness is on outsiders and the people suffering alike. I think the medical and sociological fields need to come together to understand how to best provide information for the general population of people who would read such an article and leave with little to no clarity on how to proceed. If there was a way to provide the information from both a medical and sociological approach that supports the facts but also the women in need I would guess that this information would be received much more positively and used in a productive way. 

Hannah Ross

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 8, 2012 9:37 pm

    I came across this article when I was researching topics for my blog post and found it pretty confusing as well. However, I do think that, first of all, context and severity of the depression being treated need to be major factors in such a decision. Chronic versus periodic depression would warrant different responses, and the context, such as if there was a recent death in the family or job loss causing depression, would need to be a major consideration. Also, in relating this study to the findings in my article, the effects of depression/anxiety symptoms exhibited by parents on there children are serious concerns, and eliminating anti-depressants from a depressed mothers life could have disastrous effects on her child.

    Ryan Whyte – SOC 410

  2. November 21, 2012 6:39 pm

    Were I a doctor, this would also frustrate me. What should I do? Prescribe? Or not?! In general, the topic of “drugs-during-pregnancy” is a fraught one. *Everything* affects the fetus; the absolutist position would of course be absolutely no drugs (even Tylenol) during pregnancy. A more nuanced position, which I think this article was trying to summarize, is that doctors have to make tough choices with pregnant women, and in some cases SHOULD prescribe antidepressants. As with all media articles about medical or scientific research, it would be better to read the original article rather than rely on the media’s summary of it. You might have found the original article less confusing. (Or maybe not…)

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