Many women who suffer from depression either choose to take a break from their meds during pregnancy, or continue taking them with the fear that they might have a negative effect on their unborn child. When a pregnant woman needs to be treated for major depression, “the possible risks and benefits of antidepressant medication are considered to have significant impacts on both mother and baby,” said, Dr. Kuan-Pin Su, of China Medical University Hospital “Many women and their health care providers prefer the use of non-medication treatments.
A new study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry suggests treatment with omega-3 fatty acid supplements may reduce depressive symptoms during pregnancy. Omega-3 fatty acids are commonly found in fatty fish and are also present in the human body. Scientists speculate that when a woman becomes pregnant the growing fetus taps into their natural supply of these fatty acids, which may lead to depression.
However, Su warned that before omega-3 fatty acids can be considered as a primary treatment for depression in pregnant women, the results need to be replicated in larger studies. Furthermore, the researcher added, the optimal dosage and type of omega-3 “need to be determined for this specific population.”
SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, April 2008