Confronting Depression During Pregnancy

[music]>>DR. SIMONE VIGOD: Depression is one of the most common complications
of pregnancy. My name is Dr. Simone Vigod, I’m a psychiatrist
at Women’s College Hospital and I am a researcher with a focus on improving care for women with
mental health issues around the time of pregnancy. It is thought that up to one in ten pregnant
women suffer fairly significant symptoms of depression. Unfortunately, for various reasons, we know
that as few as one in five of those women receive treatment that makes them better. We made a tool to help women make decisions
about whether or not to use anti-depression medications during pregnancy. It’s an online tool for women to be able to
learn about what depression in pregnancy is, why and when anti-depressant medications would
be prescribed in the first place, to understand what might be some reasons to take anti-depressant
medication, and what might be some reasons not to. And the issue there is that anti-depressant
medications – although they are fairly low-risk medications – we can never say that a medication
exposure is a zero risk situation. So in our treatment trial for tDCS, what we
are doing is we’re having women come into the hospital to have the treatment done. It’s a focal brain stimulation treatment where
the brain areas that are involved in depression can be directly stimulated without impacting
any other brain areas, nor the body. So this is an ideal treatment for depression
in pregnancy because it has the potential to treat depression in the mother without
having any negative impact on the fetus. The tDCS machine though is very small, it’s
portable and it has potential to be used for at-home treatment. tDCS represents a really novel and innovative
solution to get more women to get the care that they need. [music]

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