Treating Depression During Pregnancy

A woman’s peak childbearing years are between the ages of 18 and 35 years old. Unfortunately, this is also when depression and anxiety disorders typically begin. Whether you are already on medication and/or seeing a therapist to treat depression or anxiety before getting pregnant, or if you develop symptoms during pregnancy, choosing how best to treat depression or anxiety during pregnancy can be a difficult decision

Today, at BOLD Health we’re sharing options for treating depression during pregnancy. If you’re still unsure after reading this article, we’re also available to help you chose the best pregnancy depression treatment that’s right for you!

Treating Depression During Pregnancy

Prescribed Depression and Anxiety Medications During Pregnancy

It is crucial to note the following medications for treating depression during pregnancy all carry possible risks, some more than others. Please speak with your doctor before taking any of these.

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed medications during pregnancy. This class of drugs is also the most studied for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. This class of medications includes citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), paroxetine (Paxil), fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft). 
 Medications During Pregnancy
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as duloxetine (Cymbalta) and venlafaxine (Effexor XR) can also be prescribed when treating depression during pregnancy. 
  • Bupropion (Wellbutrin) isn’t typically the go-to prescription for treating depression during pregnancy, but it is a good option for those who haven’t responded to other prescribed medications. 
  • Tricyclic antidepressants including nortriptyline (Pamelor) and desipramine (Norpramin) are less commonly prescribed to treat depression during pregnancy. However, if the benefits outweigh the possible risks and you haven’t responded to other medications, this is an option for you. 

Women frequently receive mixed messages about whether it is “safe” to continue medication during pregnancy and while breastfeeding (if they choose to do so). Because of these mixed messages, you may also feel internally conflicted. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of each medication, your need for treatment, and your treatment options before making a final decision. 

Related Post: What is Depression and What Are the Best Treatments?

Questions To Ask Yourself Before Taking or Continuing Medication for Depression During Pregnancy

The decision to continue or stop a medication before or during pregnancy is complex. The four questions you need to ask yourself and your health care provider include: 

  1. What is the risk(s) of taking medication during pregnancy? Find out potential risks for:
    • birth defects
    • effects on fetal growth and development
    • effects before, at or after delivery
    • effects on child development
  1. What are the benefits of taking medication during pregnancy? Consider how potential medications to treat depression during pregnancy:
    • will impact or help your mood or anxiety
    • have affected women who have stopped taking them in the past 
  1. What is the risk(s) of not taking medication during pregnancy? If you become depressed or develop anxiety symptoms, what is the risk to you, your fetus, infant, and family?
  1. What are the benefits of not taking medication during pregnancy? This is often the easiest to answer since there is really only one benefit: no concern about the risk of medication exposure for the fetus or infant.

Determining whether or not to take medication that helps treat depression during pregnancy can get complicated pretty quickly. A trained reproductive psychiatry provider like our professionals at BOLD Health can help you and your partner (where appropriate) sort through the information in a clear and concise discussion. Be sure to learn more about our psychiatry and medication management.

Related Post: Getting Help for Postpartum Depression and the Baby Blues

Other Options For Treating Depression During Pregnancy

The discussion about continuing or stopping antidepressants during pregnancy often ignores the benefit of psychotherapy in treating depression or anxiety during pregnancy and postpartum. 

Reproductive psychiatry

Providers are often quick to recommend medications when it comes to pregnancy depression treatment. But they may not tell you that psychotherapy is just as effective, if not more so than many medications in treating depression during pregnancy. 

At BOLD Health, we believe supporting women who choose to stop antidepressants before or during pregnancy is essential. If you are looking for another way to work through your anxiety or depression as a pregnant woman, and you live in the San Diego area, we’re happy to help you by offering some of the best psychotherapy and IOP in San Diego options

Trust in a Team of Highly-Trained Reproductive Psychiatry Providers and Therapists

There’s no doubt pregnancy is an exciting time in your life as a woman. But it’s also filled with tremendous hormonal fluctuations like you’ve never experienced before. 

If you’re pregnant, thinking of becoming pregnant, or have recently given birth, and you think you may be at risk or are developing anxiety or depression, it’s crucial you seek out a trusted reproductive psychiatry provider as soon as you can. 

Depression, whether before, during, or after pregnancy, is not a choice you make. It is a serious mental illness that is treatable with the right help. 

Related Post: Getting Help for Depression – How to Find the Right Therapist

What is Reproductive Psychiatry? 

Reproductive psychiatry is simply a subset of psychiatry. They specialize in the behavioral health of women going through reproductive transitions, including:

  • pre-menstrual
  • infertility or fertility treatments
  • pregnancy
  • postpartum
  • menopause

Reproductive psychiatrists are trained in the field of psychiatry. They can help you understand the potential risks of leaving your depression or anxiety untreated during and after pregnancy and the possible risks of medications during pregnancy. 

The BOLD Health Team

Our team of highly-trained reproductive psychiatry providers and therapists work together to help women like you sort through conflicting information and make the right decision for your particular situation. We provide care ranging from one-time consultations to comprehensive care beginning at preconception and continuing through the postpartum period. 

We meet weekly to review patient cases, talk through complex questions and examine new journal articles in the field of maternal mental health. This collaboration allows us to ensure you receive the highest standard of care possible. We believe strongly in providing up-to-date information in an easily understood format to empower women to make informed choices.

Contact our caring patient coordinators if you are looking for depression treatment during pregnancy, including participating in an IOP in San Diego. We’ll help determine the best pregnancy depression treatment is right for you, whether that be IOP in San Diego or one of our other excellent psychotherapy treatment options. 

Contact our caring patient coordinators if you are looking for depression treatment during pregnancy, including participating in an IOP in San Diego. We’ll help determine the best pregnancy depression treatment is right for you, whether that be IOP in San Diego or one of our other excellent psychotherapy treatment options. 


Call: 760.503.4703

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