According to a study, acupuncture is effective in reducing symptoms of depression during pregnancy. The study results reveal that this standardized acupuncture for depression protocol could be a viable option for treating depression during pregnancy.
As many as 14% of women who are pregnant could have major depressive disorder, a disorder characterized by feelings of dread, gloom and hopelessness, along with a lack of interest in ordinarily enjoyable activities. A number of women have problems with depression before pregnancy, quit their medication and then have a relapse, in some other women, pregnancy alone could cause depression.
It’s not exactly certain how pregnancy brings about the disorder, but an increase of hormones might be the reason. Some women could also feel overcome by the significant changes in their lives, which often can result in depression.
Depression could pose risks to both baby and mother if left untreated. Depression during pregnancy has also been linked to postpartum depression. Many women avoid taking antidepressants due to concerns of safety.
For this research, 150 women were recruited who met the criteria for major depressive disorder, and who were between 12 and 30 weeks pregnant. They randomly received 1 of 3 treatments: acupuncture for depression specifically, or control acupuncture where needles were placed in points that do not help alleviate symptoms of depression, or massage. They all had 8 weeks of therapy and were tested for depression at the 4 and 8 week marks.
The study determined that women who had been given the acupuncture for depression experienced a greater reduction in symptoms of depression compared to the women from the other treatment groups. The response rate, which was defined as having a 50% or more reduction of symptoms, was 63% for those that received acupuncture for depression, in comparison to 44% for those in the other 2 groups combined.
The researchers were not surprised at the outcome, a pilot study gave similar results, along with other studies which have shown acupuncture as an effective treatment for depression.