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Nonpharmacologic Intervention and Prevention Strategies for Depression During Pregnancy and the Postpartum


Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology: September 2009 - Volume 52 - Issue 3 - p 498-515
doi: 10.1097/GRF.0b013e3181b52da6
Psychiatric Disorders in Pregnancy

Perinatal depression is a serious and disabling disorder that has enduring consequences for both women and their children. Although efficacious pharmacologic strategies are available, many perinatal women are reluctant to continue or start antidepressant medications because of the concern about impact on the fetus or, later, the nursing infant. Weighing the costs and benefits of pharmacologic strategies often requires complex-decision making on the part of obstetric providers and patients. Nonpharmacologic intervention and prevention strategies offer the potential of beneficial outcomes without substantial risk profiles. This paper reviews the evidence base for nonpharmacologic intervention and prevention strategies for depression during pregnancy and the postpartum. The evidence base suggests that efficacious nonpharmacologic options are available for women during pregnancy and postpartum; however, important research questions remain.

*Department of Psychology, University of Colorado, Depression Center, Boulder, Colorado

Department of Psychology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

This work was supported by grant MH083866 from the National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD.

Correspondence: Sona Dimidjian, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Colorado, 345 UCB Muenzinger, Boulder, CO 80309-0345 E-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.