Postpartum Depression (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Early treatment of postpartum depression (PPD) is important for you, your baby, and the rest of your family. The sooner you start, the more quickly you will recover, and the less your depression will affect your baby. Babies of depressed mothers can be less attached to their mothers and lag behind developmentally in behavior and mental ability.1
Treatment choices for postpartum depression include:
Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and decide on what type of treatment is right for you. Counseling and support are considered a first-line treatment for mild to severe PPD. Women with mild PPD are likely to benefit from counseling alone. Those with moderate to severe PPD are advised to combine counseling with antidepressant medicine.
You may also benefit from:
Your doctor may recommend a licensed counselor who specializes in treating postpartum depression.
What To Think About
Can I take antidepressant medicine and breast-feed my baby?
Treating your depression is very important for your baby. Breast-feeding is good for your baby's health and your baby's bond with you, too. At best, you will be able to treat your depression and breast-feed your baby. But if you decide to choose between taking medicine and breast-feeding, treat your depression.
Talk to your doctor and your baby's doctor about your antidepressant choices. Any antidepressant can get into breast milk, but some antidepressants do so in such small amounts that they can't be measured in the baby's blood.
Some SSRIs, such as fluoxetine, are passed on to the breast-fed baby more than others. And every woman uses (metabolizes) and passes on medicine in different amounts. The level of medicine in your breast milk depends in part on when you take your daily dose. Talk to your doctor about when the level of medicine in your breast milk is lowest.
Researchers are studying children who breast-fed while their mothers took SSRIs. So far, they have seen no signs of unusual problems in these children into their preschool years.4
How long do I need to take antidepressant medicine for postpartum depression?
Antidepressants are typically used for 6 months or longer, first to treat postpartum depression and then to prevent a relapse of symptoms. To prevent a relapse, your doctor may recommend that you take medicine for up to a year before considering tapering off of it. Women who have had several bouts of depression may need to take medicine for a long time.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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