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Question
Posted by: Hope | 2010/04/22

History of depression and starting a family

My husband and I want to start trying to conceive but I have one issue I’ m worried about. I have a history of depression. I’ ve had some setbacks in life (abusive relationship etc) but have learned how to cope and move on. I had a wonderful psychologist who guided me wonderfully but he passed away last year and I haven’ t had the heart to find a new one. I am still on a light anti-depressant (10mg cipralex) which I’ ll probably have to stop using when I fall pregnant?

Where I''d like to use your expertise is that I fear that I might be more prone to pre-natal or post-natal depression due to my history. Is that likely? What would your suggestions be, for someone with a history like mine, who is considering having a baby?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

No antidepressant is "light" - they are either to be used at the correct dose, with a good chance of being useful, or they are used at a lighter dose, and won't be useful beyond a placebo effect. With Cipralex, 10 mg is a reasonable dose.
It is best to see a proper specialist psychiatrist for a full assessment of the situation, and advice on whether to stop the Cipralex before planning a pregnancy, and if so, how to stop it gradually. He/she has to weight the advantages and disadvantages of stopping the drug versus the assessed risk of a return of the depression and its attendant effects.
Though Post-Natal Depressiomn isn't rare, and your chances may be slightly higher, this is no reason to avoid a pregnancy if you are otherwise stable - again, a proper assessment by a psychiatrist would be wise.

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: Liza | 2010/04/22

Don''t know what side-effects cipralex will have on an unborn baby, but you will probably need to stop the cipralex. It isn''t a good idea however to stop abruptly. Rather go down to 5mg for two weeks before stopping completely.(Your doc will probably recommend this too).

You might suffer from post-natal depression, but the chances of getting PND is less when planning for a baby than when getting pregnant accidentally. With my oldest son I got pregnant accidentally and I had PND. My youngest son was planned and I didn''t suffer from PND even though I''m bipolar.

So good luck with conceiving! And remember to take folic acid while trying to conceive and during your pregnancy. It reduces the risk of problems with the baby (besides, it also makes hair and nails healthy and shiny, which can make you feel better about yourself and reduce the risk of becoming depressed even further)

HTH
Liza

Reply to Liza
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/04/22

No antidepressant is "light" - they are either to be used at the correct dose, with a good chance of being useful, or they are used at a lighter dose, and won't be useful beyond a placebo effect. With Cipralex, 10 mg is a reasonable dose.
It is best to see a proper specialist psychiatrist for a full assessment of the situation, and advice on whether to stop the Cipralex before planning a pregnancy, and if so, how to stop it gradually. He/she has to weight the advantages and disadvantages of stopping the drug versus the assessed risk of a return of the depression and its attendant effects.
Though Post-Natal Depressiomn isn't rare, and your chances may be slightly higher, this is no reason to avoid a pregnancy if you are otherwise stable - again, a proper assessment by a psychiatrist would be wise.

Reply to cybershrink

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