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How and when to treat depression in pregnancy

Posted on 29/03/2016
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Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London have published a BMJ clinical review on depression in pregnancy.

Depression in pregnancy affects up to 10 per cent of women. Yet, as few as 20 per cent of pregnant women with depression receive adequate treatment.

Barriers to treatment include stigma, lack of provider training on perinatal mental health, and limited access to the evidence-based psychological treatments that patients prefer. 

Women report that conflicting information from professional and non-professional sources about antidepressant drugs in pregnancy impedes decision-making and may reduce treatment uptake. 

This review, published last week in the BMJ, presents evidence for health professionals to enable shared management of depression in pregnancy with patients.

Louise Howard, Professor in Women’s Mental Health at King’s College London and NIHR Research Professor, spoke to the BMJ in a podcast about the new paper, where she discusses the higher threshold for using medication in pregnancy but also when it is needed and what to consider when prescribing antidepressants in pregnancy.



The Section of Women’s Mental Health at King’s College London is currently recruiting participants for a trial of an online tool to help women make decisions about antidepressant use in pregnancy. To find out more about the study please visit the King’s website.

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