Last week a flurry of emails filled and left my box; a study was publicized that revealed a correlational (very rough metaphor: you are very frequently in the presence of your spouse at the same places, it doesn’t mean you cause your spouse to exist) connection between the use of antidepressants and an increased risk of autism for those infants.
Both the headlines and the misleading use of statistics were troubling; capturing attention by inducing fear. It is important that information is presented that enables women to make decisions based on information that weighs the risks and the benefits: empowers rather than inducing guilt and fear. Postpartum Support International (PSI) reproductive professionals penned a well-thought out response; I encourage you to read it.
Teresa Twomey, former CT Coordinator of PSI and current President of PSI-CT, sums it up: “whether with medication or other treatments, it is important to address both prenatal and postpartum maternal depression and anxiety for the health of the baby as well as for the health of the mother”.
Depression and anxiety affects the health of the baby as well as the health of the mother. Many interventions for depression and anxiety are effective: cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal and supportive therapies, family therapy, support groups, antidepressant medication, exercise, and many alternative treatments.
Weighing the risks and benefits based upon a particular individual’s response to treatment, the risks and potential benefits of the treatment, the risks and potential benefits of other treatments, and each woman’s psychology is essential to make an empowered decision about treatment. What you decide after carefully weighing all the above, is “right”.