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CDC: Depression treatment linked to reproductive health

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diagnosing and treating clinical depression in women is a vital part of reproductive health.

Depression is treatable. But several studies have linked the class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, with potentially dangerous heart and lung defects in babies born to women who take the drugs while pregnant. SSRI antidepressants include Prozac and Zoloft.

A recent CDC survey found that 11 percent to 18 percent of women reported having frequent symptoms of postpartum depression, or depression that occurs after childbirth.

But postpartum depression isn’t the only kind associated with pregnancy. The CDC says a number of events surrounding childbirth can bring on spells of depression, including:

  • Having a hard time getting pregnant: Depression affects many women who experience infertility.
  • Having twins or triplets: Mothers of multiples have a greater risk of developing depression compared to women who give birth to just one baby.
  • Losing a baby: Women who experience miscarriage (losing a baby early in pregnancy), stillbirth (losing the baby late in pregnancy), or death of a newborn are more likely to experience depression.
  • Having a baby as a teen: Teen moms are more likely than older moms to have postpartum depression.
  • Having premature labor and delivery: These mothers have a significantly higher risk for depression.
  • Having a baby who is different: A mother’s risk for depression increases if the baby has a birth defect or disability.
  • Pregnancy and birth complications: Some studies have shown an increased risk for depression among women who experienced complications and hospitalization during pregnancy or an emergency C-section.
  • Having a baby or infant hospitalized: This can cause depression as well as stress and anxiety.

According to the CDC, symptoms of depression include:

  • A low or sad mood.
  • Loss of interest in fun activities.
  • Changes in eating, sleep, and energy.
  • Problems in thinking, concentrating, and making decisions.
  • Feelings of worthlessness, shame, or guilt.
  • Thoughts that life is not worth living.

When many of these symptoms occur together and last for more than a week or two at a time, this is depression.

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with an SSRI lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries.

See the CDC information here: