Acupuncture might be an effective method of treating depression in pregnant women, according to a study presented at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) 30th Annual Meeting.
Approximately 10% of women who are pregnant have clinical depression. Of those, 20% experience worsened symptoms during pregnancy. Although this rate of depression is similar to that of postpartum and nonpregnant women, concerns about using antidepressants leave pregnant women with few alternatives.
George Macones, MD, MSCE, chair of the Ob/Gyn department at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and program chair of the SMFM conference who reviewed the study abstract for the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, said the findings are too premature to advise any patient to discontinue medication during pregnancy. But, in an interview with Medscape Ob/Gyn and Women's Health, Dr. Macones said he would offer acupuncture as an option to women with unmedicated depression.
"If a patient said, 'I'm really reluctant to start a medication, is there anything else you could offer to me?' I probably would be willing to discuss acupuncture with someone in that group," Dr. Macones said.