Acupuncture has been getting more mainstream acceptance within the medical community as more and more studies show it’s efficacy in alleviating symptoms. In fact, the study, “Acupuncture for Depression During Pregnancy: A Randomized Controlled Trial” in the March issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology shows acupuncture as a successful alternative to antidepressants for pregnant women. The study is a a first-of-its-kind from Stanford University School of Medicine researchers and looked at 150 women whose pregnancies were between 12 and 30 weeks gestation and who met the criteria for major depressive disorder.
Depression can affect up to 14% of pregnant women. Characterized by feelings of dread, gloom and hopelessness, and a loss of interest in normally pleasurable activities, depression during pregnancy is suggested to be caused by an influx of hormones combined with the stress of a major life change. If left untreated, depression can be dangerous for both mom and baby, and is linked to poor birth outcomes and postpartum depression. Antidepressant medication is sometimes prescribed during pregnancy, however many women opt not to take antidepressants while pregnant due to safety concerns. “Because there’s this concern about medication among pregnant women and their physicians, it’s important to find an alternative,” said Rachel Manber, PhD, who led the study.
The women who participated in the Acupuncture study were randomized to receive one of three treatments: acupuncture specific for depression; control acupuncture, during which needles were inserted in points not known to help alleviate depressive symptoms; or massage. The researchers found that women who received acupuncture specific for depression experienced a greater rate of decrease in symptom severity. The response rate was 63 percent for the women receiving depression-specific acupuncture, compared with 44 percent for the women in the other two treatment groups combined.
The researchers conclude:
“Overall, the acupuncture protocol we tested yielded a response rate comparable to the rates observed in standard treatments for depression and was associated with relatively few and mild side effects, suggesting that this standardized acupuncture protocol could be a viable treatment option for depression during pregnancy.”
Many of the BioVeda Health & Wellness Centers offer Acupuncture services as part of our Holistic Healing program. Contact us to find a center in your area that offers Acupuncture and benefit from holistic healing today!