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Pregnancy and depression setraline

(39 Posts)
HaylJay Wed 01-Feb-17 21:44:53

So basically I started on antidepressants again a few months ago after finding life very difficult and felt unable to cope. I find without them I become snappy, irritable, withdrawn, generally down and find life overwhelming.
I found the setraline I was prescribed massively has helped and I feel like I am doing so much better and doing a better job as a mum.
Now I am currently 6 weeks pregnant my doctor has given me contradicting advice. He said it is considered safe to take and many women take it no problem through pregnancy. He also told me it is best not to take them as they don't know for certain they're safe.
They say I have to weigh up the risks which just makes me feel so guilty. I feel I do need them to be able to function with day to day life and parenting my DS but the chance I could be harming my unborn baby with a drug just because I can't cope with my own head makes me feel so awful. I feel so worried about what could happen.
Has anyone had any experiences taking antidepressants they can share with me?
I'm not seeing much online about real life experiences from taking setraline in pregnancy.

arbrighton Wed 01-Feb-17 21:57:38

There is no testing of any med on pregnant women. Dr has to say that as while it is ok for the majority, there is never a guarantee.

I came off sertraline at about six weeks but i was close to coming off anyway and at antenatal clinic, i was reassured by Dr that if i had needed to, it was relatively safe to continue with it.

You are going to harm your baby and Ds more by being unwell and not able to function/care for them.

HaylJay Wed 01-Feb-17 22:01:19

Hi thanks for your response. I'm aware the doctor has to tell me there is a risk because of the lack of evidence but it makes me feel even worse I feel like I don't know what to do for the best and really want to hear how other ladies got along in their pregnancy with the use of antidepressants. I feel so isolated on the subjeft sad
How far along are you in your pregnancy now that you're coming off them? And did you have extra monitoring in your pregnancy?
Thanks again for responding

HeyJupiter Wed 01-Feb-17 22:03:17

Hi, I work in psychiatry and echo what arbrighton has said. We work with loads of pregnant women on potentially much more dangerous drugs than sertraline but ultimately the risks to themselves and their children are far higher if they become mentally unwell than we think the most medication can cause (there are of course exceptions to that rule but sertraline wouldn't fall into that category!)

We don't know 100% but looking after your wellbeing has to be the priority. If you can't function without them then there is your answer. Good luck! smile

HaylJay Wed 01-Feb-17 22:07:10

Thanks for your reassuring response.
I really do find life hard to manage without them however I can't ignore this nagging feeling of worry I don't know what the risks could be sad
I couldn't live with myself if I harmed my unborn baby. I am on the lowest dose and have been weaning off and already feeling massively low again I think I may have to continue using them.

hopsalong Wed 01-Feb-17 22:32:36

I find doctors' attitude about prescribing medication to pregnant women so infuriating -- especially with anti-depressants, when many people feel a sense of stigma about MH issues in the first place. But I have had it in this pregnancy with codeine and morning sickness medication. Essentially they write out a prescription for something promised to make you feel much better, and then hand it to you with a little guilt-tripping aside "but if you want to be a good mum you won't take it anyway."

We are not (most of us) trained healthcare professionals! It shouldn't be our responsibility as pregnant women to make cost/benefit decisions about medical care that we don't even have information to make properly. The implication is often that it is better to suffer almost anything than to risk harming the fetus -- until they turn round and say that untreated pain/depression etc might be equally or more harmful.

OP, I think you should follow your instincts. If you end up stopping medication and your depression comes back, you might worry that untreated depression has damaged your baby; if you take it, you'll probably worry that the medication is bad. But at least in the second case, you won't be worrying / ruminating excessively because you're depressed. Does that make sense? In fact loads and loads of women in UK and even more in US have had very healthy and happy pregnancies on sertraline.

BakingWithPreSchoolerand6YO Wed 01-Feb-17 22:33:06

I was on sertraline to help with PND after dd2. I was specifically prescribed sertraline because it doesn't transfer through breast milk / only come through in small safe traces. I wanted to continue to BF but needed the meds to help me get to a place where CBT could help. Not sure how it works but if it doesn't get into breast milk maybe it doesn't pass well through the placenta?

Ultimately, taking sertraline may be a much lesser risk to you and baby's health than coming off the meds and risking deeper depression / heightened anxiety and the associated high levels of stress hormones or worse.

You've got to keep yourself as well as you can do you can be the best mum, if that means staying in sertraline then so be it. flowers

hopsalong Wed 01-Feb-17 22:36:31

PS for a thorough treatment (and quite a pro-medication one) I would recommend a book called "Pregancy Blues" by Shaila Misri. Think available as a Kindle download.

FatOldBag Wed 01-Feb-17 23:02:24

I'm on Sertraline 100mg/day and I'm 24 weeks. If you're feeling anxious already, it's going to be worse without it I think. Pregnancy and shortly after is a really hard time for a lot of people, if you're feeling very low without them I really would think it's better to stay on them. I'm not planning to try to come off until baby is about 6 months, which both GP and consultant at the hospital think is the best thing. There are risks to everything but sertraline is widely used with no known reason to exclude use in pregnancy, whereas anxiety and depression can be very harmful. x

HaylJay Wed 01-Feb-17 23:25:11

Hopsalong you actually read my mind! You're exactly right they don't want to tell me a definite yes or no and would rather leave that on my shoulders when actually there opinion would be based on much better evidence than my own.
Thankyou so much!
I hate not knowing what to do for the best and feel that I am failing either way.

HaylJay Wed 01-Feb-17 23:25:36

Thankyou I'll defiantly take a look at the book!

HaylJay Wed 01-Feb-17 23:29:15

Thankyou for your response BakingWithPreSchoolerand6YO
I was also prescribed setraline after my DS was born when I was breastfeeding. My doctor seemed reluctant to give me the prescription I felt uneasy at that so I never ended up taking the prescription during the breastfeeding. Something I regret as my first months with my DS I found very hard and defiantly could have enjoyed our time more if I had treated my depression πŸ˜”
I think you're right though I need to stay well for my DS as well as it's not fair on him when I'm so depressed around him

HaylJay Wed 01-Feb-17 23:31:39

Thankyou so much for your response, can I ask have you had to have any extra care due to the medication in your pregnancy?
I agree that leaving the depression untreated is going to be harmful especially when in already looking after my 1 year old son. I just wish I knew exactly what was happening in my body and I could see I wasn't causing any harm

astormgivenflesh Wed 01-Feb-17 23:40:43

I was on 200mg of sertraline a day before getting pregnant and my GP told me to quit cold turkey as they were risky - I had a hideous weekend of fever, sweating (literally soaked through the bed) and shaking as I stopped taking them and the strong painkillers I'd been on for years for my chronic illness.

Turns out that was TERRIBLE advice and my new GP shuddered and said how awful and dangerous it was to just tell me to quit like that. I've really struggled without them tbh but part of me is glad I came off them as I just couldn't be SURE, you know?

This is probably useless but I'm here if you want to just vent or talk about coming off them! starflowers

hoolabaybee Wed 01-Feb-17 23:43:08

I was on fluoxetine then got pg tried to come off, could not cope so put on sertraline all the way through pregnancy and my boy was born healthy.

He's 4 now and I take one every two days which seems to work ok for me

HaylJay Wed 01-Feb-17 23:47:13

Omg astormgivenflesh can't believe the first GP advised you to quit cold turkey πŸ˜”
I agree I'd love to come off completly so I can be completely free off medication have that as one less risk to worry about.
I just don't think I'll cope and I need to be well enough to look after my DS too.
I've been weaning off since I found out I was pregnant 2 weeks ago, I've gone down to taking a tablet once every 2 days and I'm already feeling a massive change 😞
I really do wish I could come off and manage without them, so worried

HaylJay Wed 01-Feb-17 23:49:18

Thanks for your response hoolabaybee
That's very reassuring to hear that setraline worked well for your pregnancy 😊
Can I ask did they provide you any additional health care during pregnancy due to the medication?
I'm so glad there ladies on this forum who have gone through the same experience πŸ’

astormgivenflesh Wed 01-Feb-17 23:51:55

Oh love, it's so hard. I really think your mental health has to come first - you need to be in the best possible place mentally and the risk to the baby is minimal compared to how awful you might feel without them if that makes sense?

Being pregnant is so bloody HARD, don't beat yourself up because you're doing a great job xxx

Stylingwax Wed 01-Feb-17 23:52:08

I take 100mg of Sertraline and have done through two pregnancies and breastfeeding for over a year with both babies.
I've found GPs are very nervous about allowing you to take anything in pregnancy, I was under the perinatal mental health teams and the psychs were much better informed and reassuring. I was told they would keep an eye on babies at birth for jaundice and not feeding properly but neither of my babies had any problems at all.

wildone81 Thu 02-Feb-17 08:34:32

Another one on 100mg sertraline /day and pregnant. Reduced my dose on doctor's advice whilst trying to conceive but reassured that its safer for me, and baby, to continue as a I am whilst pregnant breastfeeding. Husband and I considered all the risks, luckily with advise from a very informed GP, and all the mental health professionals I've spoken to agree that continuing on this dose is best option all round.

It did help me to understand the specific risks associated with sertraline, and my GP was able to give me some patient info leaflets that described possible risks, how baby could be affected, and how any issues would be resolved - worth asking your midwife or GP for more info if doing some reading will give you peace of mind?

Have always said to myself that I wouldn't hesitate to take medication for another condition if my wellbeing was crucial for health of baby and a mental health condition isn't any different.

Hope that helps and that you get to a place where you're reassured that both you and baby are being looked after.

arbrighton Thu 02-Feb-17 09:14:05

Sorry to come back late but i took about 4 weeks to come off. Can't remember exactly when I had but certainly by the time I had my scan, and I'm now 18+2 . However, I'm feeling well, even DH has noticed I'm doing well (and for him to actually say so is pretty major!)
Ideally I'd have done that before getting pregnant but that happened a bit faster than we'd anticipated.

BUT, I'm keeping an eye out for signs as if I am becoming unwell, I know the results of anxiety/ not caring for myself properly are potentially harmful too. And I know that if I need it, there are MH specialist midwives too.

Your Dr won't have been trying to guilt trip you, sadly I think that may be more a sign that you do need the meds. And please don't think it is that you are unable to cope, it is a sign of an illness. Pregnancy hormones screw around with you enough as it is.

user1471541467 Thu 02-Feb-17 11:44:30

I have been told by numerous GP's and also my consultant that it is much safer for me to stay on Sertraline. Knowone has even questioned it really. I'm now 26 weeks pregnant and have no intention of stopping. Don't feel bad at all about taking it x

HaylJay Thu 02-Feb-17 12:09:03

Thankyou astormgivenflesh
I do agree I need to look after my mental health it's espically important because I'm looking after my DS full time x

HaylJay Thu 02-Feb-17 12:10:18

Thankyou so much for your response Stylingwax
It's good to hear that all worked out well for you 😊

HaylJay Thu 02-Feb-17 12:13:49

Thanks for your response wildone81
Your definetly right many women have to take medication for other issues and mental health is just as important.
This is a point that reassures me as many women must be taking medication for all kinds of things during pregnancy.

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