For most women, pregnancy is generally considered a period of emotional well-being for the woman and her family. However, many women suffer from an increased vulnerability to psychiatric conditions during pregnancy and after delivery.
There has recently been a lot of discussion in the news about the potential hazards of taking antidepressants while pregnant. Some researchers are concerned that they increase the risk of birth defects.
Sarah has had depression on and off throughout most of her adult life. She finally found an antidepressant that worked for her. But now she’s pregnant and she’s been hearing all the awful things about antidepressants during pregnancy.
Some people dread the change of seasons. Shorter, darker days mean fatigue, oversleeping, too many carbs, and having a general sense of malaise: a pattern known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Fortunately, safe treatments for pregnant and breastfeeding women are available.
Every birth is unique. And for some, a birth experience can be deeply troubling. After giving birth, many women share a sense of disappointment, anger or fear.
There is a movement afoot in childbirth education and perinatal health urging mothers to avoid nighttime breastfeeding to decrease their risk for postpartum depression. We know that if mothers follow this advice, it will have a negative impact on breastfeeding. But let’s put that issue aside for the moment and consider whether avoiding nighttime breastfeeding will preserve women’s mental health by allowing them to get more sleep. In short, is this good advice?