Depression During Pregnancy

I saw an outstanding article in the February 2012 issue of Current Psychiatry about treating depression during pregnancy. I think it’s important to point out that for women who experience depression during pregnancy, psychiatrists don’t always think the only appropriate treatment are antidepressants. In fact, for mild depressive symptoms without functional role impairment, suicide ideation, or psychosis, psychotherapy is the treatment of choice. Interpersonal therapy (IPT) or cognitive-behavioral therapy are safe and effective treatments during pregnancy [1].

Complementary treatments can also be effective and can prevent relapse when antidepressants and mood stabilizers have to be discontinued. Mind-body approaches can help, including mindfulness-based stress reduction, yoga, and progressive relaxation. Mindfulness yoga can decrease depressive symptoms and promote maternal-fetal attachment. It is wise and safe to treat severe mood disorders, especially those marked by psychosis or catatonia, with medications and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

A couple of useful links at The University of Iowa:

UI Institute Registration | Iowa Psychotherapy Training Institute

Mindfulness Programs

Muzik, M., MD, MSc, and S. Hamilton, MS (2012). “Psychiatric illness during pregnancy: Early detection, individualized care can promote health for mother and infant.” Current Psychiatry 11(2): 23-32.


Author: Jim Amos

Dr. James J. Amos is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry in the UI Carver College of Medicine at The University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. Dr. Amos received a B. S. degree in Distributed Studies (Zoology, Chemistry, and Microbiology) in 1985 from Iowa State University and an M.D. from The University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa in 1992. He completed his psychiatry residency, including a year as Chief Resident, in 1996 at the Department of Psychiatry at The University of Iowa. He has co-edited a practical book about consultation psychiatry with Dr. Robert G. Robinson entitled Psychosomatic Medicine: An Introduction to Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry. As a clinician educator, among Dr. Amos’s most treasured achievements is the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award.

2 thoughts on “Depression During Pregnancy”

Comments are closed.