Zoloft And Pregnancy: Battling The Holiday Blues
The holiday season was in full swing when Katie found out she was pregnant. She called me and wanted to know if she could continue to take Zoloft (or sertraline), the medication she was prescribed to treat her depression. The idea of coming off of the medication scared Katie, just as much as the idea of taking something that could affect her baby did. Katie also had been feeling a bit more exhausted and down than usual, possibly due to both her pregnancy and to a case of the holiday blues. ‘Tis may be the season to be jolly – but it is also a time when emotions (and stress levels) can run high.
Some of the most common reasons that people feel extra stress during the holidays include money, family, traveling, over-committing to attending events, and for some, the inability to spend time with their loved ones. Being pregnant can add another layer of anxiety to an already hectic time. Though the season is always presented as a time filled with joy, it can certainly take a toll on people’s mental health. It is important to note that when depression is left untreated during pregnancy, there may be increased risks for miscarriage, preeclampsia, preterm delivery, low birth weight, and a number of other harmful effects on mom and baby. (See our fact sheet on depression and pregnancy at fact-sheets/depression-pregnancy/). It’s also important during pregnancy to not stop (or start) taking any medications without first talking with your health provider. Whether or not a woman continues to take a medication throughout her pregnancy will depend on the benefits of taking the medication versus any possible risks associated with the medication. For that reason, I suggested to Katie that she should speak with her healthcare provider about whether or not continuing to take sertraline is in her best interest given her particular health history and pregnancy.
If you’re feeling blue this holiday season, remember that it is just as important to take care of yourself as it is to care for those around you. The holidays can also be a wonderful time of year to take stock of what it is in life that you’re thankful for. If you do find that you are feeling down or depressed and have been feeling this way for quite some time, seeing your healthcare provider may be a good step to take. If you are pregnant and dealing with feelings of sadness and depression, do not assume you cannot take a medication to help with your symptoms. If you are pregnant and already taking a medication for depression, don’t stop taking it without talking to your healthcare provider. Always check with your health care provider before starting or stopping any medication.