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Antidepressants And Pregnancy: Is It Safe?

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Antidepressants And Pregnancy: Is It Safe?

There will seldom be a time that you are more hyper aware of what is going into your body than when you are pregnant. This will include everything from lunch meats to cookie dough to hot dogs to the prescription drugs that you have been taking to get by.

In this article, we will address your concerns about antidepressants and pregnancy. As with everything related to health that you read on the internet, check with your doctor before making decisions.

Will Depression Go Away During Pregnancy?

Unfortunately, this will not be the case. In fact, with the hormonal changes in a mother’s body, she may find things ramp up in that department. Treating depression during this time is essential. The concern with stopping antidepressants during pregnancy is that the mother may start using other behaviors to cope with destructive thoughts. The behaviors can be as innocent as not eating healthy to as terrible as smoking. Depending on the mother’s choice of coping mechanism, there could be consequences for the baby’s health.

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Additionally, if the mother is not treating the depression during the pregnancy, there is a serious risk of postpartum depression after giving birth. In some cases, a mother can have a difficult time bonding with their baby because of the range of emotions that are being experienced. To be clear, every mother will have a range of emotions during pregnancy and after birth. Some sad days, and some happy. However, if previous to pregnancy a woman had exhibited enough characteristics to require antidepressants for treatment, these “normal” emotions can quickly snowball into some serious problems.

Are Antidepressants An Option During Pregnancy?

Yes. Yes! I will shout it from the rooftops.

The best bet is to meet with the doctor to do a risks vs. benefits analysis in regards to continuing your medications. From the information I have seen, the risk of birth defects and other problems for mother and baby are very low. Can I tell you that without a doubt you and your baby will be fine? No. Could I tell you that even if you weren’t on antidepressants? No.

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Are All Antidepressants Considered The Same In Pregnancy?

Nope. There are some medications that are safer to take during pregnancy than others. Studies have shown that some have more risk for the babies, so again it’s important to discuss with a doctor.

What Kinds Of Antidepressants Are There And How Safe Are They?

They are generally broken into 4 categories for pregnant women:

  • Certain selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) — Generally considered safe for pregnancy (will include Zoloft, Prozac, and Celexa).
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) — Also considered safe for pregnancy (will include Cymbalta and Effexor XR).
  • Bupropion (Wellbutrin) — This can be safe, but it’s not the typical first choice during pregnancy. If other medications are not working for the patient, this can be an option to try.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants — These also are not the typical first choice during pregnancy. They can be effective if the other choices have not been effective for the woman (will include Pamelor).

What Are The Possible Complications?

Based on research, use of citalopram, fluoxetine, and sertraline can create a serious newborn lung problem (persistent pulmonary hypertension) when taken during the last half of pregnancy. Some other rare birth defects have been suggested, but studies were inconclusive.

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The overall risk is very, very low.

Which Antidepressants Should Be Avoided?

Studies with Paxil show it may correspond with a small increase in heart defects.

Additionally, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) (Nardil and Parnate) are generally discouraged during pregnancy. MAOIs might limit fetal growth.

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Will The Baby Have Withdrawals?

Tapering dosages at the end of pregnancy could help to curb any side effects the baby could have after birth. Talk to your doctor before doing any tapering because this will also affect your mood and ability to handle the postpartum period.

If I Stop Taking My Antidepressants, What Will Happen?

Physically, you can have chills, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, and nausea/vomiting. Mentally, obviously any of the things that caused you to go on the medication will still be there.

A Final Word

Only the mother and doctor can know the right course of action. It is worth doing a risks and benefits analysis to see where things end up. At every point in the process, please make sure the communication is constant with the doctor. Trying to go without does not mean a mother can not reevaluate feelings as the pregnancy progresses.

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Last Updated on January 5, 2022

How to Help Your Child to Get Better Grades

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How to Help Your Child to Get Better Grades

Children are most likely to say that they want to just lounge around or rest for a while after spending hours listening to lecture after lecture from their teachers. There is nothing wrong with this if they had a rough day.

What’s disturbing, is if they deliberately stay away from schoolwork or procrastinate when it comes to reviewing for their tests or completing an important science project.

When it seems that it is becoming a habit for your child to put off school work, it’s time for you to step in and help your child develop good study habits to get better grades. It is important for you to emphasize to your child the importance of setting priorities early in life. Don’t wait for them to flunk their tests, or worse, fail in their subjects before you talk to them about it.

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You can help your children hurdle their tests with these 7 tips:

1. Help them set targets

Ask your child what they want to achieve for that particular school year. Tell them to set a specific goal or target. If they say, “I want to get better grades,” tell them to be more specific. It will be better if they say they want to get a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Having a definite target will make it easier for them to undertake a series of actions to achieve their goals, instead of just “shooting for the moon.”

2. Preparation is key

At the start of the school year, teachers provide an outline of a subject’s scope along with a reading list and other course requirements. Make sure that your child has all the materials they need for these course requirements. Having these materials on hand will make sure that your child will have no reason to procrastinate and give them the opportunity to study in advance.

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3. Teach them to mark important dates

You may opt to give them a small notebook where they can jot down important dates or a planner that has dates where they can list their schedule. Ask them to show this to you so you can give them “gentle reminders” to block off the whole week before the dates of an exam. During this week, advise your child to not schedule any social activity so they can concentrate on studying.

4. Schedule regular study time

Encourage your child to set aside at least two hours every day to go through their lessons. This will help them remember the lectures for the day and understand the concepts they were taught. They should be encouraged to spend more time on subjects or concepts that they do not understand.

5. Get help

Some kids find it hard to digest or absorb mathematical or scientific concepts. Ask your child if they are having difficulties with their subjects and if they would like to seek the help of a tutor. There is nothing wrong in asking for the assistance of a tutor who can explain complex subjects.

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6. Schedule some “downtime”

Your child needs to relax from time to time. During his break, you can consider bringing your child to the nearest mall or grocery store and get them a treat. You may play board games with them during their downtime. The idea is to take his mind off studying for a limited period of time.

7. Reward your child

If your child achieves their goals for the school year, you may give them a reward such as buying them the gadget they have always wanted or allowing them to vacation wherever they want. By doing this, you are telling your child that hard work does pay off.

Conclusion

You need to take the time to monitor your child’s performance in school. Your guidance is essential to helping your child realize the need to prioritize their school activities. As a parent, your ultimate goal is to expose your child to habits that will lay down the groundwork for their future success.

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Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

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