- Megan Trainor’s newborn son has been placed in the neonatal intensive care unit due to minor health complications.
- She says health care providers asked her if she took antidepressants during pregnancy.
- Experts say it’s a good idea for pregnant women to take mental health medications, with some exceptions.
Singer Meghan Trainor recently spoke about her mental health journey and pregnancy, saying that medical professionals blamed her for her son’s minor health issues when he stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit shortly after his birth.
“They kept asking me if I was taking antidepressants during pregnancy, and I was, but at the lowest possible dose, and all my doctors said it was safe and wouldn’t affect it,” the 28-year-old told parents. website romper in an interview.
How stigma around mental health drugs affects pregnant women
Taking mental health medications is a personal decision, which should be made with your health care provider. But it is a decision that often comes with stigma. For pregnant women tasked with taking care of themselves and their growing fetus, this stigma often causes stigma, both internally and from others – including uninformed medical professionals.
Doctors say that in many cases, it’s helpful – as well as medically necessary – to take mental health medications during pregnancy.
Lindsay Standeven, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Director of Clinical and Education at Johns Hopkins Center for Women’s Reproductive Mental HealthAlthough medications are not without risks, mental illness is not treated during pregnancy.
“If someone has a history of anxiety or depression, there are real risks of this disease not being treated for both the pregnant woman and the newborn,” she said. “But people look at the drug’s risk profile rather than the disease risk.”
Untreated anxiety and depression are linked to an increased risk of gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia, a form of high blood pressure that can lead to premature birth and stillbirth, Standfein said.
Daniel PanelliUntreated mental illness can also increase the risk of emotional trauma perinatally and during the postpartum period, said M.D., a specialist in obstetrics, gynecology and maternal-fetal medicine at Stanford Medicine for Children’s Health.
For these reasons, medical providers often encourage pregnant women to treat their mental illness with medication.
Some negative opinions about taking medications during pregnancy are based on old research
Standeven said that Oldest search Several of these studies indicate that antidepressants may lead to birth defects and fetal abnormalities Did not take into accountWhether a parent taking antidepressants uses other substances, has other medical conditions, or routinely goes to prenatal appointments.
Latest Studies These factors do not indicate that the use of antidepressants causes serious harm to the developing fetus, she said. However, no drug is completely free from risks. That’s why medical providers take an individual approach to each patient, balancing the risks of untreated disease with the risk of medication.
If the risk of developing an untreated mental illness is greater, the provider may prescribe a new medication or advise the pregnant woman to continue taking the current prescription. “The most important thing for any medical condition is to have a stable condition during pregnancy and throughout your pregnancy,” said Panelli. “For mental health conditions, if a person achieved a stable mood with medication prior to pregnancy, we generally recommend continuing the same treatment during pregnancy.”
If someone has new anxiety or depression during pregnancy, the provider may recommend starting treatment for the first time. Standeven said medical providers often recommend the lowest effective dose of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) for anxiety and depression. “The truth is that most of these medications are compatible with pregnancy and breastfeeding,” she said.
Some medications – such as valproic acid, used to treat bipolar disorder – are known to pose serious risks to developing fetuses during the first trimester of pregnancy. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant and have a history of mental illness, Standeven has recommended talking to your medical provider sooner rather than later to come up with a treatment plan.
She also advised against abruptly stopping the medication without talking to a medical professional because of the potential mental health risks. Not following your mental health might seem like the right thing to do during pregnancy, but experts agree that self-care is an important part of someone else’s care.
“Birthborn parents think they’re doing it right by depriving themselves of something they need, but that’s not the right way to think about it,” Standvin said. “A parent who is healthy is better able to maintain a healthy pregnancy and nurture a child.”
If your mental health is in crisis, seek medical attention or call the NAMI hotline at 800-950-NAMI (6264).