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Facing Depression During Pregnancy

An important tool in fighting depression during pregnancy, antidepressants can help an expectant mother -- without hurting her unborn baby.

Breastfeeding Concerns

The last area of concern comes when a mother gives birth and decides to breastfeed her baby while on antidepressants. Here, the news is very promising.

"Breastfeeding has been well researched in terms of antidepressants, "Hendrick tells WebMD. "And the results of research show that breastfeeding women shouldn't be told they have to stop taking an antidepressant to breastfeed."

Hendrick explains that babies are very sensitive to their mothers' moods, and there is a great deal of evidence that suggests a mother's mood can impact the child.

"The mother should not remain depressed for both her benefit and the baby's," he says. "Antidepressants can be helpful, and the exposure to a baby through breast milk is so minute, there is no reason to not take them if they would be helpful."

Weighing Benefits and Risks

"Have a discussion with your doctor about the risk and benefits about being on an antidepressant if you are pregnant," says Epperson. "If you can be off a medication, of course you should be, but if you can't -- and a lot of women can't -- then antidepressants can help."

With both psychotherapy and antidepressants, a pregnant woman can overcome depression and enjoy the birth of her child, and be assured that the risk that antidepressants pose to her child is small.

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