Unipolar Depression During Pregnancy: Nonpharmacologic Treatment Options

Christopher Tjoa; Emmanuelle Pare; Deborah R Kim


Women's Health. 2010;6(4):565-576. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Depression during pregnancy can negatively affect maternal and fetal health. Some women will choose not to take psychotropic medications during pregnancy. This article reviews alternatives to pharmacologic treatments for women suffering from unipolar depression during pregnancy, focusing on exercise therapy, phototherapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation and acupuncture.


Depression during pregnancy affects approximately 13% of pregnant women, making it a national health issue of vital importance.[1] Treating depression in pregnant women is a difficult clinical problem given the concern regarding how treatments may affect the developing fetus.[2] Many women prefer not to take antidepressants during pregnancy and healthcare practitioners may be reluctant to prescribe them. For women who prefer not to take antidepressants, other options need to be made available. This review introduces and discusses nonpharmacologic treatment alternatives for women suffering from antepartum depression.


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