Acupuncture for Pregnancy Depression

New Stanford University Study Finds Acupuncture Effective in Treating Depression During Pregnancy: study conducted by Stanford University finds that acupuncture is effective in the treatment of depression during pregnancy.

Acupuncture Provides Viable Option

This study is particularly important because this population is very difficult to treat with traditional western approaches to depression. The difficulty is the potential effect that anti-depressant medications may have on a developing fetus, and in the case of women who will be nursing, young infants.

The study was conducted by the Stanford University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and involved 150 pregnant women between 12 and 30 weeks pregnant, who met the criteria of major depressive disorder. Participants were assigned to one of three groups – the first group received massage, the second group received control acupuncture (real acupuncture not specifically designed to treat depression) and the third group received acupuncture specifically designed to treat depression.

Participants received 12 treatments over the course of 8 weeks with outcomes measured at 4 and 8 weeks. Those participants in the acupuncture specific to depression group, experienced a greater rate of symptom relief than those in the acupuncture control group and the massage group. Manber R, Schnyer RN, Lyell D, Chambers AS, Caughey AB, Druzin M, Carlyle E, Celio C, Gress JL, Huang MI, Kalista T, Martin-Okada R, Allen JJ. Acupuncture for depression during pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial. Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Mar;115(3):511-20

Study Results

The women in the depression specific acupuncture group reported the best results. Sixty-three percent of the women in that group reported an improvement in their symptoms of more than 50{50cdfeddae49c27121ae92727b6a81e9d51d9b53978b3e5eb07002f692d3a298}. In the other two groups combined only 44 percent reported an improvement of more than 50{50cdfeddae49c27121ae92727b6a81e9d51d9b53978b3e5eb07002f692d3a298}.

Depression Rates In Pregnancy

Estimates indicate that up to 14{50cdfeddae49c27121ae92727b6a81e9d51d9b53978b3e5eb07002f692d3a298} of pregnant women suffer from major depressive disorder, with some having suffered from depression prior to pregnancy and others developing depression subsequent to becoming pregnant. This presents a risk to both the mother and the fetus and studies have linked depression in pregnancy to poor birth outcomes and post-partum depression. Moreover, many women express a reluctance to take anti-depressants during pregnancy because of concern about the effect of these drugs on the developing fetus. This study establishes acupuncture as a safe and viable option for treating depression in pregnant women.

To make an appointment or simply gather more information about acupuncture or choosing an acupuncturist, please contact Elizabeth at +1 917-968-2854. Or, contact us through this website. Elizabeth Healy is a NYS Licensed Acupuncturist, holds a Masters Degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine and a Doctorate in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. She is certified in Acupuncture and Herbology by the NCCAOM.