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FDA Panel Recommends Sage’s Postpartum Depression Treatment

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola

New mothers experiencing postpartum depression may soon have access to a 60-hour, infused drug targeting hormonal changes in their bodies, thanks to an FDA panel’s recommendation. The drug, manufactured by Sage Therapeutics, spiked safety concerns because it caused loss of consciousness and dizziness in some patients.

While at least one panel member said the drug should come with a black box warning on it, the panel still approved it 17-1, concluding that the benefits outweigh the risks. CNBC said final approval for the drug is expected by December 19.

While the featured news release didn’t mention whether safety studies had been done on nursing mothers, I can’t imagine that anything like this could be approved if you’re breastfeeding, so it will be a wait-and-see scenario until the FDA releases more information on what they’ve determined.

Meanwhile, if you are experiencing postpartum depression — or even depression during pregnancy (antepartum) — there are ways to address these serious concerns naturally. Before I give some hints on these natural suggestions, though, it’s important to note that while some of the symptoms of postpartum and antepartum depression are similar, there also are a few differences.

For example, some of the telltale symptoms of antepartum depression include feelings of anxiousness, difficulty concentrating, recurrent panic attacks, persistent sadness, low energy and more.

Postpartum mothers, on the other hand, can experience excessive crying and difficulty bonding with their baby. Some fear that they’re not a good mother, and may even think about harming themselves or their baby. If not addressed, these symptoms can escalate to hallucinations and delusions and paranoia, to name a few.

Statistics show that up to 80 percent of new moms experience this “baby blues” postpartum; it’s just the degree of depression that defines postpartum depression. And, it’s the severest forms of depression that are spurring research on medical ways to stop this from happening.

If you’re struggling with postpartum depression yourself, talk to a therapist or your doctor as soon as possible. Some nondrug ways of addressing your recovery include:

  • Increasing your omega-3 intake, as studies show that insufficient dietary intake of omega-3s may increase a woman's risk of postpartum depression
  • Exercising, which is a known way to relieve depression
  • Practicing mindfulness before and during birth, as research suggests that mindfulness training that's tailored to address the fear and pain of childbirth offers many mental health benefits to new moms, including the prevention of postpartum depression.
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