This week I’m highlighting recent expert opinions on untreated depression during pregnancy. My post a few days ago highlighted a research paper stating that anti-depressants generally “do not provide clinically meaningful benefit to women with depression.”
While a strongly disagree with that position, I am impressed by the number of non-medication therapies that are being researched or have already shown benefits for women with depression.
And now we get to “the rest of the story”.
A letter of response was submitted in the same research journal not long after the first paper was published. The letter’s authors disagreed with the conclusions made in the paper, especially that anti-depressants were so ineffective for women. They stated that while research studies doing random medication trials with pregnant women are unethical, that didn’t mean there was no useful data.
According to these experts, the research paper’s authors may have had the wrong assumptions about pregnant women with mental health issues. Because of the complexities of depression in pregnant women, medication can be a critical part of their care.
More than anything else, the authors of this letter thought the researchers minimized the seriousness of depression during pregnancy. They feel that a research paper with these conclusions creates “harmful hype” for a problem that is already challenging to address.
So why have I summarized two papers that seem to show such opposite view of the same problem? To show you that not all research is the same. It’s important to see how experts come to the conclusions they publicize in papers, articles, and interviews. Also, some issues are complex and the available information can be controversial or conflicting.
Consider that even though I didn’t agree with the some of the conclusions in the first research paper, I still found something valuable from it. The list of alternative therapies looks like a promising direction for future research.
There is much research to be done about depression during pregnancy. Hopefully, more questions will be answered and research results will become more consistent. Until then, be sure you get information from all sides of an issue to make your own conclusions.
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Last reviewed: 10 Mar 2013