Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Beware the Holiday Blues!

Holidays can already be a stressful time, but with the addition of pregnancy and hormones you can get into trouble. And, that trouble can spread to anyone in your path. You may already feel the pressure of having that perfect holiday for your family and you're likely to try to do 100 things at a time. The result is stress with a capital S.

Now for some more not-so-fun facts. 10 to 12 percent of women will become depressed during pregnancy. Untreated, this can lead to problems for the unborn child, including risk of preterm delivery and developmental delays. Depressed mothers-to-be also have a 50 percent greater risk for postpartum depression. Holidays are a high risk time for depression in the general population so it's important to be on the lookout for symptoms.

For the most part, because they may not know a lot about the medications and in fear of causing harm, doctors in general under-treat depression during pregnancy and mothers often have the same fear, but they aren't taking into account the consequences of not treating it. Thankfully certain antidepressants appear safe during pregnancy and the very small potential risk that might be present often is outweighed by the known risk of untreated depression.

Sometimes the mother-to-be takes a reduced dose, thinking this will reduce risk to their baby. In reality it may mean the depression is not treated since the therapeutic dose is not there, even while taking the medication. If you're going to take it, take a safe one in the appropriate dose to actually do the job rather than teasing yourself with a half dose. Discuss concerns about medication and depression (risks and benefits) with your care provider and call the Pregnancy Risk Line if you have questions about drugs in pregnancy or breastfeeding. They are at (801) 328-2229 and (800) 822-2229. Typically breastmilk contains very low levels of the most common antidepressants.

If you have been successfully treated for depression and/or anxiety before pregnancy, usually it is recommended you use what has worked before, if this is appropriate in pregnancy. This is not the best time to experiment with new drugs that may have unexpected side effects for you. Talk to your doctor or nurse midwife about your options, especially if you feel like things just aren't as they should be or if your family members have noticed concerning symptoms. Getting things in control before the baby may help reduce the risk of pospartum depression, but if you choose not to use medication, consider light therapy, exercise, talk (cognitive) therapy and non-pharmaceutical options, take good care of yourself, eat a healthy diet and get plenty of rest. If you find yourself sleeping too much and unable to function, this could be a warning sign. Mayo Clinic has relaxation techniques to help. Quality Health has tips to help reduce anxiety.

Given the risk of postpartum depression, don't wait too long after delivery to talk to someone about this. Click here (WebMD) or here (Mayo Clinic) for depression screening tools and discuss your findings with your doctor or midwife. More information can be found here.

If you feel you are at risk of hurting yourself or others, please call a crisis line (on the right sidebar), your care provider, Life Assistance Counseling offered by PEHP or another therapist (call the number on the back of your member benefit card for a referral if needed), or call a friend/relative/neighbor/clergy. Call WeeCare if we can be of assistance. May your holidays be happy, not too stressful, and healthy for you, your baby and all your family! Best Blogger Tips

No comments:

Post a Comment

This blog only reviews comments before posting to avoid hijacking. We will respond to comments Mon-Thurs but we are closed Fri-Sun and legal holidays.