There is much to consider during all aspects of pregnancy, birth, and after birth. You may experience some anxiety and depression before, during, and after pregnancy. If you have talked to your doctor about how you feel, you may have heard the phrase “perinatal depression,” “perinatal depression and anxiety,” or “perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.” These are common medical conditions that many expectant women feel, and they are treatable.

It is estimated that 14 to 23 percent of pregnant women experience depression during pregnancy, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. That equates to about one in seven women.

Mirtazapine is among the many medications that are used to treat depression and anxiety. Read on to learn if it’s OK to take it while pregnant.

Perinatal Depression and Anxiety

You may be wondering what the signs of perinatal depression and anxiety are and what you can about them. These are medically related symptoms for a known medical condition.

Below are the symptoms in which to be aware:

  • Unusual anger or irritability
  • Extreme sadness or anger that happens without warning
  • Having a “foggy” mind or have trouble completing things to do
  • Just going through the motions to get through the day
  • Feeling very anxious around the baby and your other children or others’ children
  • Feeling guilty and like you are failing at motherhood
  • Having very little interest in the things you used to enjoy
  • Having upsetting and scary thoughts that don’t go away
  • Overeating or lack of appetite
  • Having no energy

If you realize that you’ve experienced some or all of these symptoms, reach out to your health care provider for advice.

Mirtazapine and Pregnancy

Depression and anxiety may harm the baby, but not directly. An expectant mother who feels depressed and anxious may not feel close to the baby. Early mother-baby bonding is essential for your baby’s development. When you are depressed during pregnancy, it is hard to feel closeness. It may also be hard for you to feel close to the baby once it arrives. Depression can make someone feel like they do not want to do anything.

Pregnant woman sitting up on a bedMajor depression during pregnancy may be tied to increased risk of premature birth, an infant with low birth weight, decreased fetal growth, and other problems, as noted by the American Academy of Pediatrics. It is vital to seek help if you feel very depressed and/or anxious if you are pregnant so that you can be treated and have a healthy infant.

Mirtazapine is a medicine that can help. Mirtazapine, the generic formulation, is an antidepressant that is also used to treat anxiety and insomnia. Its brand names are Remerol and Remerol SolTab.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists the medicine as a Category C drug. This means that, “Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use of the drug in pregnant women despite potential risks.”

Medication prescribed for depression during pregnancy can fall under several types. It is essential to keep in mind that if prescribed for you, take the dose that the doctor ordered.

The Mayo Clinic indicates that these medications are generally prescribed during pregnancy:

  • SSRIs: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
  • SNRIs: Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
  • Bupropion: Also known as Wellbutrin
  • Tricyclic antidepressants: Mirtazapine is an example

What are the Risks of Taking Mirtazapine While Pregnant?

If you are concerned that mirtazapine may affect your baby in utero, talk to your doctor about it. You may be prescribed the lowest possible dose, especially in the first trimester. If the medicine is taken in the last trimester, some associated risks reported by the Mayo Clinic could be temporary symptoms or signs of discontinuation, such as irritability, jitters, poor feeding, and respiratory distress, which would last up to a month after birth. Research conducted about the risks of taking mirtazapine when pregnant resulted in finding no real danger to the baby. However, you and your doctor should discuss the risks versus the benefits.

Other Options to Consider

If you would rather try other options rather than medication to treat your depression or anxiety, here are a few suggestions that could be beneficial to you and your baby.

  • Take time to find and connect with other soon-to-be moms locally and/or online. They can offer good advice as well as provide support for you.
  • Realize that you don’t have to do everything before the baby arrives. Do what you can, ask for help if you want it, and let the rest go.
  • Carve out time every day to do something for yourself. Find a quiet spot and read, meditate, or go for a walk.
  • Nap when the baby naps. You need rest just as much as the baby.

This can be an exciting, exhausting, and anxious time for you. It’s understandable if you feel depressed and anxious while pregnant. Know that you are not alone, that your symptoms are treatable, and that you and your doctor can find the best treatment for both you and your baby.

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