Depression Could Overshadow the Bliss of Being With Child

By one estimate, up to 20 percent of women are affected and many suffer in secret.
4:42 | 06/03/15

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Transcript for Depression Could Overshadow the Bliss of Being With Child
Next on our heat index a serious issue for so many women, depression during pregnancy, by one estimate, it affects up to 20% of women but so many suffer in secret. ABC's juju Chang has more on the story. Reporter: It's supposed to be one of the happiest times in a woman's life, but for some, pregnancy is more like this. From what to expect when you're expecting. Pregnancy sucks. I have no control over my emotions. Reporter: For some expectant moms, being with child can be crippled by the little talked about depression. I didn't understand what was going on. Reporter: Like 50% of all postpartum depression, Wendy's began during pregnancy. It often goes untreated. After her first baby, decided to stay on antidepressants for her second baby, after close consideration with her doctors. The benefit definitely outweig outweighed. Reporter: The author focuses on the complex ways people cope with depression, releasing an xermt of a new chapter in the book to the "The New York times" magazine. That's part of the lingering stigma with pregnancy, you're pregnant, you should be happy, angelic and maternal. Some people feel better than they have thought and some women feel worse than they have felt. Reporter: Women on antidepressants shouldn't go off meds cold Turkey without careful supervision. Joining us now is senior medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton. I'm so glad we're talking about this. This is something that's kept so silent. If you look at the statistics, guys, this is the most common least understood disorder of pregnant women. If you add anxiety with depression, it can be as high as 70%. I believe it. Absolutely. If a woman is worried about this and thinking about antidepressants, how should think? This is the most important decisionmaking process, whether it's about this subject or anything else in medicine, you have to evaluate several questions, number one, what are the risks not only the risk of taking medication, but what are the risks of not taking medications. Two patients. You have to answer those questions for the mom and the baby. And what are the benefits for taking medication for depression during pregnancy. In medicine we have to go by the worst-case scenario happens, and those are high stakes. Huge stakes. If we don't want to use medication. What are the options? That's the next part of that decisionmaking process. What are the options? What are the alternatives? And to be clear, when you talk about options for treating something like depression, this is never something that you should decide on your own, this is a very important decision that should make with your obstetrician or midwife. St. John's wort, very few studies and no randomized standards evaluating the safety of St. John's wort. Light therapy has been studied. You'll love this one, pet therapy has also been tried. The research is ongoing. Families should be watching out -- They need support also. If you're the spouse or the husband, you know, you're worried, too, you don't want to put that on to the pregnant woman. We want woman to know that it's okay to have these feelings because you're supposed to feel so joyful and sometimes you're just not. Many times you're not. Absolutely. Again, so glad we're having this very important discussion and I know you'll get a lot of questions, as always. All morning. On Twitter. Go see Jen there. Check of the weather with

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