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To not take antidepressants for postnatal depression?(42 Posts)
I have been diagnosed with PND (have two children, 6 months and 3 yrs old) and have been prescribed anti depressants (Sertraline). I am breastfeeding and the doctor couldn't assure me the drugs would be absolutely safe - only that the 'benefits outweigh the risks'. She also told me to watch out for any strange behaviour in my baby
I am trying to get better without them but am finding it a struggle. I often think I am a terrible mother and that my children might even be better off without me, although most of the time I know this isn't true. I get by day to day but find socialising difficult - even though I know this is what I need!
AIBU to not take the drugs?
Thank you so much to each and every person who has taken the time to reply. All the posts have given me lots of food for thought.
I still haven't made my mind up, but I do feel reassured knowing others have taken the medication and BF. I have just started counselling, and am trying everything I can to feel better. Sometimes it seems to be working, other times I feel I need more help.
Thank you all again, it really means a lot to me to read what you've written.
Another here who has PND and is breastfeeding.
My GP liased with a paediatric specialist to put my mind at ease about taking Sertraline. My DD is 11 months, I have been on Sertraline 100mg for over 6 months now and exclusively BF. My daughter is tremendously healthy and (if I say so myself ) super bright and thriving. Maintaining the breastfeeding relationship has, in conjunction with careful medication, really helped me over the worst of postnatal depression.
It is an awful illness. I urge you to reconsider using medication; before I sought out treatment, I thought I would never 'properly' love my baby or find anything to enjoy about parenthood. Now my DD is approaching her first birthday and I couldn't feel more differently. Good luck and I hope you find your way to feeling better soon.
Another one here taking setraline and still bf. I researched it and spoke to others in my situation before I made the decision. Ds is fine ( he's 15m now). I knew that I needed the AD's, but for me I also would have felt terribly guilty if I'd stopped bf ( that is a very personal issue of mine).
You need to do what's right for you. But setraline is seen as safe, be assured.
Op, by the way, there is also a book called ''Medication and Mothers's Milk'' which is all about the levels of all different medications within breast milk. Your doctor should have one, and you are allowed to ask to have a look at it if it would reassure you. Do contact the drugs line I posted above though as well, just thought that maybe seeing it in black and white in a book might set your mind at rest a little.
I agree with reallytired the things she named are proven to help depression ob they are not as good as meds but if op wont take medication they are better than nothing.
The OP does not want to take anti depressants. Unless she is sectioned then no one can force her to take medication. We have no way of knowing how ill the OP is, only her GP knows. If the OP does not feel confident in her GP's judgement then she can ask a different GP for a second opinon.
If the OP is really admant that she doesn't want medication, then I was only trying to suggest other possible ideas. Certainly for mild depression self help books, websites, exercise, diet can help up to a point. If the OP has mild depression then its possible to stop in its tracks without medication. What is vital is to prevent mild depression developing into something really nasty.
Medication literally can be a livesaver, but people get better quicker if they have a combination of medication and pychological intervention. If someone is severely ill then medication is essential.
I would suggest the OP contacts her local mind network as they often run useful courses to help people with mental illness.
I had to take ads whilst breastfeeding, the percentage that passes through milk is tiny, we looked into it. It did not effect my ds in any way. Obviously its your choice but from my experience I would say it does help. Pm me if you want too x
Hi OP, I haven't read all other posters but I know exactly how you feel, I didn't want to take sertraline either when BF, because i thought it might harm DD, I have 2 children and with my first I tried every other option first - acupuncture, counselling ... I ended up in a situation where I was even more depressed. So I went onto the sertraline having spoken to a special Drugs in BF helpline (don't know the no now sorry) who said would be fine, and my Dd was fine, I bf DD until she was 18 months. I realised at 6 weeks post DS birth that I had it again and went straight onto sertraline, went up to max dose 200mg and had no effect on DS. I'm still feeding DS now at 22 months and am weaning myself off the sertraline.
It is entirely up to you of course but FWIW I don't think you should stop BF. Your baby is 6 months now which will mean you are feeding far less and they are that bit more strong and more able to take the minuscule amount of sertraline should it get through - better 6 months than 6 weeks eh?
I hope you get through it anyway, huge sympathy because its a hellish time. Please PM me if you want to talk further xx
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Another anecdotal but I take sertraline and have done (in varying doses) while bfing all three DC. The only time I have stopped is while pregnant.
The only effect I noticed is when I upped a dosage they seemed sleepy when I did.
With my first I was very nervousand not sure about taking it, the consultant who turned up at my house didn't give me a lot of options. I did phone NCT and looked at the Kellymom website and looked at studies, it gave me a lot of reassurance.
Butterfly I completely agree. Exercise and diet etc are very important but the doctor has diagnosed depression and has prescribed tablets so the medical advice should be followed.
I recently had someone tell me my bipolar was due to full moons. I was very and felt like shouting "Do I look like a fucking werewolf?" She meant no harm but its just ignorance.
Why are some posters recommending op who has pnd to simply take supplements and exercise???
There are many cases where people NEED prescribed medication because they are ILL!
It is not just in their heads where a little sunlight can cure it.
Op please ignore such ignorance.
Like others, I can only tell you my experience. I went quite quite bonkers with PND after DD1, and my HV and GP both wanted me to take ADs but I refused because I was bf.
In hindsight, I was not in a good position to make a clear judgement. I weighed up the benefits of bf versus the benefits of my own mental health, and decided bf was more important. TBH I had zero perspective or insight into the situation, I was just concentrating hard on getting through each hour. I thought I was putting my baby first, when now I would say that it is putting baby first to give her a mother who- not to put too fine a point on it- can function. Can smile. Can laugh. Can meet her friends. Can exercise. Can cook proper meals. Can interact with baby in a natural and enjoyable way. I couldn't do any of these things very well. What a waste of two years. It is only now I have DD2 and no PND (thank god!) that I can see this.
It is not an easy decision, but there's my anecdote for you.
Obviously as MsVestibule said up thread, I can only tell you my experience. I was diagnosed with PND when my DS was 8 weeks old. I was quite anxious about taking ADs but was feeling extremely low and was very worried about the fact that I really wasn't bonding with DS. I was also breast feeding. I was prescribed Citalopram which made a massive difference to me and my relationship with DS.
I breastfed until he was 6 months old and had to stop because I went on some medication for sciatica which could not be taken while BFing. I had struggled hugely to breast feed and was heart broken to give it up, as I'm sure you can appreciate. However I decided that as DS had had 6 months of breast milk and was thriving, it was more important that I wasn't crying in pain everyday and weened him off the boob so I could start the meds.
It wasn't an easy decision and I don't think yours is either. I do think it is important for children to have a mentally well mother who is able I function and if the best way to achieve this is ADs then I would do it. Difficult to know though without knowing more about your situation. Do you have a partner? What do they think?
I would advise take AD as prescribed,
Dont go down the st johns wort route
Too complicated re drug dose etc...
Have your ADs and mood response properly monitored by gp,
There is a lot of evidence that depressed parents affect development of children,
IM not saying that is / will be the case with your kids,
More that it is something to consider if you decide to leave depression untreated,
Most people feel pretty yuck when they first start ADs but this usually quickly subsides within a week, ten days, so definately worth sticking with it, and people generally start to feel more like their usual pre depressed self after 2 weeks, if not, may be that a higher dose is required,
Best wishes op
Has your GP checked your thyroid? I thought PND had struck when my DS was nine months, but turns out I had undiagnosed postpartum thyroiditis. Fatigue, depression and irritability are just some of the symptoms. I now take replacement thyroid and feel like my old self again.
Thanks valiumredhead I take it but my pyschiatrist seems to think I will always take it but I may get to come off so thank you.
OP, lots of sympathy. PND is vile. I wished I was dead every minute of every day for several months after births of DCs 1 & 2. Finally a health visitor persuaded me I did need antidepressants (which I had rejected for ages because of the breastfeeding situation). I took sertraline and it has turned my life around, honestly. It has made me feel rational and calm and able to cope. When DC3 was born last year I went back in sertraline very soon after the birth and I am exclusively BF. I know this isn't scientific but all my kids seem like fine, happy, normally developed kids. No weird behaviour!
Good luck with whatever you choose to do.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I was prescribed Lofepramine when I was BF. The doc assured me it was safe.
Really tired, its an figure of speech not a insult. I also said nothing about giving up breast feeding.
For a medication that has been in use for over 20 years and has been decreed as ok to prescribe to breast feeding mums with no need to stop bf due to it not being detected in the baby's platelets,stopping if you did not want to would not be needed.
Its normally used for sever depression, one would think if the prescribing docter has assessed the suituation correctly that treatment is needed,in a ideal world that would be a combo of supportive therapy as well as medication when warrented.
Sorry you have PND OP, have you been offered counselling?
crawling I came off it by talikg a liquid form and cutting back a tiny amount every month or so - took about 8 months or so to get off it completely.
There are lots of safe anti depressants you can take whilst breastfeeding, of which Sertraline is one. Contact the breastfeeding network drugs line, they're superb.
Many many mothers breastfeeding and take various medications, so although your anxiety is understandable, I think your doctor went a bit OTT with his warning!
Hi - I'm so sorry you are struggling with PND. I ahd it after all of mine and it was particularly bad after my 3rd. I had been on Prozac, but was taken off it towards the end of my pregnancy because it is known to have effects on breast fed babies. I then nosed dived when DS was 6 weeks old, and was started on sertraline, which is considered safer for breast feeding. I carried on feeding him till he was over a year old, and didn't have any problems with it at all. I just realised that if I didn't take the medication I couldn't function, and couldn't care for my children properly (and had suicidal thoughts) so for me, medication was the best thing. I hope this helps, and I hope you feel better soon.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
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