August 11, 2007

Shoshana Bennett, Ph.D, author of Postpartum Depression for Dummies, joins our conversation!

I am so thrilled to have a comment on my blog from Shoshana Bennett, Former President of Postpartum Support International and Founder/Director of Postpartum Assistance for Mothers. How awesome is this!! Shoshana joins the conversation that developed from my posts on the use of anti-depressants while pregnant and/or breastfeeding. Here's what she says:

"As Anne Dunnewold expressed, the judgment needs to go. There is no one “right” way. Each mother is trying to make the best decision for the wellbeing of her baby, and whatever choice feels right for her needs to be respected and supported.

"In order to make the best choice she can for the welfare of her family, it’s also important for the mom to have solid information on the pros and cons when she make this important decision. Here are some facts which many are not aware of. Most medical professionals who have dedicated their careers to studying the safety of antidepressants in pregnancy agree that they have been focusing too heavily on one side of the issue for years. Now, instead of solely focusing on the possible unknown risk to the baby when the mom takes medicine, they are leaning much more on the KNOWN risks to the baby if the mom is NOT treated. Until a few years ago, most of the focus with respect to taking medications while pregnant was on the possibility of harming the baby. Today, since there is much more data gathered on the dangers of depression and anxiety to the developing baby, the focus has shifted to the possible harm from NOT taking medication if the pregnant woman needs it to feel like herself.

"It’s quite clear from the research in the last few years that depression and anxiety in pregnancy can chemically hurt growing babies. For instance, depression in pregnancy can cause low birth weight and preterm delivery, and anxiety may cause harm by constricting the placental blood vessels and raising cortisol. One thing is for sure that everyone agrees upon. If a woman is experiencing depression or anxiety during pregnancy, she and her whole family (big or little, born or not yet born) needs her to receive treatment. Treatment, of course, does not necessarily involve medication, it’s simply the topic of this discussion. On that note, we are learning quite a bit about effective non-pharmaceutical treatments for depression in pregnancy with no side effects except good ones!"

Shoshana S. Bennett, Ph.D. Author, Postpartum Depression For Dummies,


Anonymous said...

It's wonderful to read Dr. Bennett's ideas on this very interesting topic. I loved her book Beyond the Blues!
Thanks for making this discussion possible.

Kristin said...

You're welcome! Thanks so much for visiting my blog!
I loved Beyond the Blues too and am now reading Shoshana's latest book, Postpartum Depression for Dummies. So far I really like the way it's laid out -- it seems to cover every aspect imaginable on PPD.

Moxie Mom said...

Very insightful and extremely helpful to know this. I am so glad that scientists have made the change. I know it's a bit like the argument, "What came first, the chicken or the egg?"
"Which is more important, the risk to the fetus, or the risk to the mother?"

Both, clearly, need to be studied and hopefully the word will spread that there are safer things you can do while pregnant to feel better.
Great post!

Kristin said...

Hi there, Moxie Mom!! Thanks for your comment. You're so right -- it is truly nice to hear that we have options. (If only it were a little easier to find out what they are.) I really love Shoshana Bennett's work and think there are lots of doctors out there who should read her books.