To not take antidepressants for postnatal depression?

(42 Posts)
Slushysnowmush Fri 25-Jan-13 16:27:53

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 shock

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?

Crawling Fri 25-Jan-13 16:32:02

Paroxetine has no known side effects in breastfeeding. Its considered very safe it is hard to get off though.

TickleMyTitsTillFriday Fri 25-Jan-13 16:33:46

I would take them and stop breastfeeding. I think that its much more important that you get well.

I hope that your Dr also organised counselling for you?

Good luck, I am on 100mg sertraline and am just starting to feel normal again, it's made me realise how ill I was.

You are NOT a terrible mother! Thats the pnd talking.

MsVestibule Fri 25-Jan-13 16:35:50

This is a very personal decision, and I would imagine all most MNers can do is give you the benefit of their experience. I started taking Prozac when DS2 was 7 months, and it helped enormously, but I'd stopped breastfeeding by then.

I would hazard a guess that your GP isn't allowed to give you a cast iron guarantee that any drugs are perfectly safe.

If you choose not to take them, what will you do to help you recover instead?

Crawling Fri 25-Jan-13 16:38:03

But YANBU for not taking them if your nervous I have scizoaffective (mix bipolar 1 and scizophrenia) and I held of meds as long as possible while bf. If it makes you feel better I now take two anti depressants and a anti pyschotic while feeding with no ill effects to my baby.

ReallyTired Fri 25-Jan-13 16:38:54

I am sorry you are ill. Your fears about medication are understandable. The only problem with not taking medication is that depression can worsen. Would it be worth seeing your GP/ health visitor every couple of months or so to watch for signs that depression is getting worse. I chose not to take anti depressants and I ended up with a nervous breakdown, however my experience is extremely rare.

Sertraline has been taken by lots of breastfeeding mothers and it is considered to be extremely safe. I don't know of anyone who has taken sertaline and whose baby has experienced side affects.

Have you got any pychological support. (Ie. what is your health visitor like?)

I suggest you try this website. It's free so you have nothing to lose if CBT does not suit you.

www.llttf.com/

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 25-Jan-13 16:40:15

It would be stupid not to. Stertraline is a ssri these help with your levels of serotonin and is not usually prescribed for mild depression it tends to be used in sever cases.

Whilst in pregnancy its not a good idea due to foetal abnormalities in animal tests after (12 weeks its a class c) bf is a different matter

Less than a third of the product passes into your milk and even less shows up on tests in the baby in most no trace is detected.

Has your docter told you why they have picked that one?

bonzo77 Fri 25-Jan-13 16:41:14

It's hard for me to say as I FF. I think you are amazing to have BF for 6 months. But I've started sertraline in the last few weeks and feel so much better. Your baby had had a huge benefit from 6 months BF. FF is a perfectly adequate substitute and maybe you need to look after yourself too now.

ChocolateCoins Fri 25-Jan-13 16:44:12

I'm not in anyway saying you shouldn't take the ADs but this is my experience. I had PND after DD was born and didn't take the medication offered to me because I was breastfeeding and didn't want to take anything that might harm DD. It took me a long time to get over the PND. I still don't feel I'm fully over it really. And I found it a huge struggle some days, but I did eventually start feeling better, it just took a long time. So to me, YANBU to not want to take them.

Zzzzmarchhare Fri 25-Jan-13 16:46:29

Have they offered you any other type of treatment? Counselling? Local support group?

If you want proper advice about breastfeeding on sertaline you can phone your local hospital- ask for pharmacy and medicines information.

I resisted taking antidepressants and a support group helped bit when that finished I sank badly and needed antidepressants.

ReallyTired Fri 25-Jan-13 16:46:57

I feel that describing someone's decision not to take anti depresants while breastfeeding as stupid is most disrepectful and unhelpful to the OP. Giving up breastfeeding when you don't want is emotionally very difficult. If the OP wants to continue breastfeeding then she might benefit from contacting La Leche League.

There are ways of boosting your sertatonin levels naturally. For example eating turkey and omega 3 oil capules can help your body manufacture sertatonin naturally. Or you can take St John's Wart.

StripiestSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 16:48:21

Im sorry you are in this difficult situation. Has your doctor arranged counselling? As you have a young baby you are a priority case.

YANBU to find it hard to decide, this is a difficult situation all round. Would you describe the doctor as a good doctor, sympathetic, thoughtful? If yes return to talk the options through. If not, find a better GP and talk it through. and ask for counselling!

LaQueen Fri 25-Jan-13 16:49:21

So nsorry you have PND.

I was diagnosed with it, after I had DD1 and was prescribed Sertraline because I was BF-ding and also very quickly pregnant with DD2. I quickly stopped BF-ding DD1 at about 6 weeks anyway.

The sertraline helped, it really helped. I felt calmer and more able to cope. It improved my sleep quality, too. Basically it just took the edge off. After I'd been taking it for about 4 weeks I can remember actually feeling like I wanted to cuddle DD1, and not just going through the motions.

And, I really think it was far more beneficial for DD1 to have a Mum who could warm towards her and engage with her, and be (fairly) upbeat - than it was to have a Mum who was so low and withdrawn and anxious, but still BF-ding her.

After I had DD2, my GP mistakenly changed me onto Prozac, saying it was better/newer than Sertraline. I hated Prozac, it set me back months and just made me feel like an android.

StripiestSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 16:49:30

Be cautious of st john's wort while breast feeding surely? Not a mild drug. Surely need advice on this option.

MrsWolowitz Fri 25-Jan-13 16:51:54

I'd take the tablets and stop BF.

I'm on ADs orignially for ND and I have now been diagnosed with bipolar.

You are NOT a bad mother for having PND.

I will say that bipolar doesn't make me a bad mother but I'm a better mother when I've taken my tablets. It does make a massive difference to my, and subsequently my DHs and DC's, quality of life. Thats just my opinion but certainlt take the tablets.

Hope you feel better soon.

MsVestibule Fri 25-Jan-13 16:52:23

I agree with Bonzo77. Your baby had had the benefit of 6 months breastmilk, and perhaps if you are so concerned (understandably) about the potential effect on your baby, would FF be an option for you now?

Of course the benefits of BF are well known, but your mental health is important for you and your family too, so perhaps that's something else to weigh up - is improving that more important than continuing to BF?

newgirl Fri 25-Jan-13 16:54:13

there are ways to help some depressions such as exercise, getting plenty of sleep, eating really well, spending time with positive friends etc but none of these are easy as a new mum or when you are depressed! If you feel you can manage all these things you may be able to manage without medication but none of us know how serious things are for you, so the medication might be the best thing to do.

Why not put yourself first and get well - the whole family benefits honestly.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fifitrixibell Fri 25-Jan-13 17:02:23

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.

SirBoobAlot Fri 25-Jan-13 17:15:13

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!

valiumredhead Fri 25-Jan-13 17:15:40

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.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 25-Jan-13 17:17:18

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.

uberalice Fri 25-Jan-13 17:19:13

I was prescribed Lofepramine when I was BF. The doc assured me it was safe.

LaQueen Fri 25-Jan-13 17:29:40

I didn't think Sertraline was prescribed for severe depression? I don't think mine was that bad? I do know it is also prescribed for effective pain relief, too.

Jambonfrites Fri 25-Jan-13 18:31:17

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.

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