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Pregnant, depressed and confused? New guidelines clarify antidepressant risks, benefits
August 21, 2009 | 5:00 pm
Depression hits women in the childbearing years more than any other demographic, but how to deal with this most common of mental afflictions poses a conundrum: antidepressant medications have become the first line of defense against depression; but there's growing research evidence that they pose risks to a developing fetus.
It's a tightrope that obstetricians on the front lines of patient care have walked for years without guidance from their own leaders or the profession of psychiatry. Busy, concerned but operating in unfamiliar terrain, many obstetricians have pulled out their pads, written a prescription for an antidepressant, and hoped for the best. No surprise, then, that by 2003, 13% of pregnant women had taken an antidepressant at some point in their http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/booster_shots/2009/08/pregnant-depressed-and-confused-new-guidelines-clarify-antidepressant-risks-benefits.html -- twice the rate that was seen in 1999.
But on Friday, the American Psychiatric Assn. and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists put a safety net under obstetricians and the pregnant women they treat. In a first-ever set of guidelines, the two physician groups offered obstetricians and their patients a set of clear road maps for treating depression in pregnancy.
The guidelines were published simultaneously in the ACOG journal Obstetrics and Gynecology and in the APA's journal, General Hospital Psychiatry.
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