The symptoms of pregnancy-related depression were relieved by acupuncture according to the Obstetrics & Gynecology based on a study conducted by Stanford University researchers. The study showed that the results of acupuncture were superior to that of antidepressant drugs and placebo.

Rachel Manber, a member of the research team states, “Depressed and pregnant women can take comfort from the fact that acupuncture treatment we have tested works for their condition.”

In the study, 150 clinically depressed pregnant women were randomly assigned either acupuncture- massage treatment designed to address depression or acupuncture treatment not meant to address depression. About 63% of the subjects in the acupuncture-massage group showed improvements of their condition compared to only 44% of the acupuncture-not-meant-to-address-depression group.

A form of TCM or traditional Chinese medicine in Palm Harbor, acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to treat a wide range of health issues.

The researchers noted that acupuncture’s rate of success in the current study was the same as the other therapies in studies of non-pregnant women and men although those studies did not compare acupuncture to psychotherapy or antidepressants. They recommended further research to make those comparisons directly.

There are about 14% of women who become depressed during their pregnancy. Besides the harm depression does to a person’s health and the risk it might pose to mother and baby, pregnancy-related depression can also be a reason for postpartum depression, which happens at similar rates of occurrences.

Depression after birth can hamper the child’s cognitive or emotional or cognitive development, reduce birth weight, create problems with mother-infant bonding, and may lead to inconsistent childcare.

In spite of their problems, many women are understandably hesitant to take antidepressant medications during pregnancy because they may harm their unborn child.

Manber says that “For many women antidepressants are not an attractive option.” “Many of them fear using these drugs during their pregnancy.”

In utero exposure to antidepressants has been associated with an increased risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension and other health problems.