It can be exciting yet daunting when you decide to have a baby. The decision can feel especially overwhelming, too, if you have depression and currently treat it with medication. You might start wondering — can I take antidepressants while trying to get pregnant? Will it affect my fertility? While it's completely understandable to be anxious, you don't have to feel alone because many women have faced this very same question and have gone on to have safe pregnancies and healthy babies.
Before you try to get pregnant, be sure to contact the medical provider in charge of your mental health. "A woman trying to conceive should consult with a professional regarding optimal medication choice and dosage," advises Dr. Alan Copperman, Director of Infertility at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in an interview with Romper. Your doctor can help you weigh the benefits and risks of staying on your current prescription or possibly considering other options. Some women may be able to manage mild to moderate depression with psychotherapy or bright-light therapy, according to Healthy Women, an independent health non-profit. But depending on your medical history and risk of relapse, your doctor may want you to stay on your antidepressant or switch to another drug.
If you're nervous about your medication impacting your chances of conception, you can breathe a little easier. "There isn't much evidence that antidepressants affect fertility," Dr. Jessica R. Brown, a clinical assistant professor at NYU's School of Medicine, tells Romper. "There are many healthy babies born to mothers on antidepressants." Brown also encourages women dealing with depression and trying to conceive to talk openly with their medical providers. If you have a question, don't be afraid to ask. Your doctors are ready and willing to help.
If you do get pregnant (congratulations), remember to check in with your mental health provider as needed. You may be tempted to go off your medicine, but keep in mind that the risk of birth defects is very low for babies of pregnant moms who take antidepressants, as noted by the Mayo Clinic. Plus, if your depression goes untreated, you may stop seeking prenatal care or put yourself at higher risk for postpartum depression, which can harm you and your baby, according to Postpartum Progress.
As you start trying to get pregnant, you might feel excited yet anxious, happy yet overwhelmed. It's completely normal to experience these emotions, but you'll also want to monitor your depression so that you can be your healthiest self. You deserve nothing less than that while you embark on this new stage of life.