As pregnancy is a time when women experience major hormonal changes, mood disturbances and depression are quite common. About 20 percent of pregnant women are estimated to experience depression at some point in their pregnancy.
To alleviate this, some turn to prescription anti-depressants, which are sometimes prescribed to pregnant women in low doses. However, even at the lowered dosage, these drugs can be quite harmful not only to the mother, but to the developing infant as well.
A new study, performed by researchers at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, found a correlation between fluoxetine use during pregnancy and a higher risk of obestiy and type 2 diabetes in children when they reached adulthood. This increased risk was characterized by inflammation and fat deposits in the livers of the adult children. Fluoxetine is more commonly known by its brand name: Prozac.
The research was presented at a recent meeting of the Endocrine Society and the International Society of Endocrinology by PhD student, Nicole De Long. De Long states: “We have demonstrated for the first time in an animal model that maternal use of a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, resulted in increased fat accumulation and inflammation of the liver of the adult offspring, raising new concerns about the long-term metabolic complications in children born to women who take SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy.”
SSRIs, of which class fluoxetine is a member, have been linked to a wide array of dangers by past research. Their use during pregnancy has specifically been associated with a greater risk of autism spectrum disorders, a 68 percent greater risk of miscarriage, a higher risk of preterm birth and a lower APGAR score.
Knowing these risks, pregnant women who are experiencing depression may wish to explore all of their natural options first, before turning to these potentially dangerous medications. One thing to try is to make sure you’re getting enough omega-3 fatty acids, which are abundant in oily fish, flax seeds and hemp seeds, to name a few sources. Omega-3s have been found to help ease both depression and anxiety.
Another dietary solution is to make sure you are getting enough niacin (aka vitamin B3) in your diet. Low levels of niacin have been linked to depression, anxiety and insomnia, and replenishing this important nutrient may alleviate many depression symptoms. Niacin is found in abundance in dark, leafy greens, carrots, turnips and celery, as well as fish, red meats, nuts and beans.
If you have incorporated these foods into your diet and still find yourself depressed, you may wish to talk to a natural health professional about essential oils and herbs you can try, being sure to tell the practitioner that you are pregnant, and getting the go-ahead from your OBGYN. Before trying these remedies, always talk to a health professional you trust first to make sure they are safe for you and the particular conditions of your pregnancy.
-The Alternative Daily