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Acupuncture, Depression and Pregnancy

A new study was published this week in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology which showed that acupuncture can help treat symptoms of depression in pregnant women.  In the study, depressed women were placed into three groups:

  • 52 women received acupuncture for the specific purpose of relieving depression
  • 49 women received acupuncture without a stated purpose and served as a control group
  • 49 women received massage therapy and served as a second control group
  • Groups underwent 12 treatments over an eight-week period of time and were then asked to take the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression.  Results showed the severity of depression in the acupuncture specific group to be significantly lower than that in both of the control groups.   

    This was encouraging news since we are often asked at Pulling Down the Moon what holistic therapies might be available to patients who become depressed during pregnancy or what patients can do if they do not want to take their anti-depressants while TTC or pregnant.  Understandably, many women are concerned about taking or starting medications during their pregnancy due to potential risk to their babies.  Interestingly, research has shown that women with depression tend to have a greater liklihood of developing postpartum depression and they are more likely to have babies with lower birth weights.  For these reasons, it is important to talk with both your doctor and your acupuncturist about integrating their care to make your treatment plan as seemless as possible. 

    For information about the study, check out this Wall Street Journal Article:

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