However, Urato said that an increasing number of studies are finding that SSRIs have little clinical benefit for mild-to-moderate depression when compared with a placebo (inactive) pill.
Other alternatives may exist for women who are battling depression, added study lead author Alice Domar, executive director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health at Boston IVF. The center is described on its Web page as focused on "enhancing the mind/body connection" through interventions such as "acupuncture, psychology, nutrition and restorative yoga."
According to Domar, cognitive behavioral therapy, in which patients learn how to direct their thinking and behavior to more constructive ends, probably has the most evidence behind it.
Exercise also has demonstrated efficacy, and yoga may have some benefit, she added.
"What I don't want to do is scare the heck out of women who are pregnant and have severe depression," Domar said. "I'm not suggesting that someone who is suicidal stop taking antidepressants cold turkey. You have to look at the individual risk-benefit ratio. In that case [suicidality], the risk of harm to her and her baby is far higher than the risk posed by an SSRI. For those with mild or moderate depression, the ratio shifts the other direction," she noted.
And, Urato added, "We're not saying women should not take SSRIs. The goal is to give them information so they can make the right decision for them."
There's more about dealing with depression during a pregnancy at WomensHealth.gov.
SOURCES: Adam Urato, M.D., chairman, obstetrics and gynecology, MetroWest Medical Center and maternal-fetal medicine specialist, Tufts Medical Center, Boston; Alice Domar, Ph.D., executive director, Domar Ce
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