Unspoken Conversations are the topics that are often swept under the carpet, whispered amongst the closest of friends and bitched about by many. I want to create awareness about difficult things that people face in life; grief, mental health, money, illnesses, family troubles, relationship difficulties and putting yourself first. I want to tell the truth about things that really matter.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Depression Medication and Babies


So I finally got around to making that doctors appointment;  you know the one that has been playing on your mind for awhile but you keep postponing, finding excuses and pushing to the bottom of your long to do list?

I started the journey of decreasing my depression Medication 3 months ago. I must admit that it was one of the hardest decisions that I have ever had to make because while I felt ready, I will never ever be ready for my illness to return.

But I did it.

I starting taking 100mg of pristiq one day and 50mg the next and I'm doing okay!
I've even dealt with really challenging and confronting decisions and high levels of stress during my journey.

In December I quit a job that I loved because it started affecting my health.
I started a new job 3 days later with no time to unwhinde and reflect on my decisions but I handled the transition to the best of my ability and have met many wonderful new colleagues and am developing new skills.

And I'm okay.  I haven't collapsed into a heap.  I haven't lost my bundle.  I am taking each day as it comes,  constantly monitoring my stress levels and finding beauty in each day and time to reflect and unwhinde.

Then came THE doctors appointment; the one where I'd discuss my progress and my future treatment plan and the topic of pregnancy came into the doctors office for the first time in my life.

It's things like this that scare the crap out of me! Via

Am I allowed to fall pregnant on my medication?

Are there any known affects to the baby?

What if the answer was no, that I couldn't be on my medication while being pregnant?  Would I ready to  let go of my security blanket?

My heart was pumping.

My doctor opened up a big fat medical book and flipped through the pages,  scribbling down some notes which despite my best efforts to lean over the desk and read,  I couldn't translate into English!

She preceded to tell me that my Medication,  Pristiq, is fairly new to the medical world,  but to date,  there has been no known effects to the baby.

Well this didn't really put my mind to rest;  is it just because there hasn't been enough time for these effects to become prevalent?  The unknown scared me.

While I don't feel ready for babies or flying solo from my medication yet,  I know in the future that I couldn't possibly continue with the medication if there was the slightest chance of impacting our baby because I could never live with myself knowing that it was something that I could control that changed their quality of life. 

While grappling with my fear and anxieties I asked for any helpful websites or books to read more about my medication and pregnancy; she produced this website;  http://www.mothertobaby.org/files/Venlafaxine_6_13.pdf

She could obviously tell that I hadn't received a definite answer to my insecurities and proceeded to tell me to call the Women's and Children's Hospital in Adelaide closer to when we were ready to start trying for more information.

Needless to say I was left feeling varying emotions,  secretly praying that I could still take a low dosage if need be with no effects to our future unborn child.

A positive did come from the appointment however; I have decided I'm ready to start taking 50 mg every day instead of 50gm one day and 100gm the next.

Pristiq and Weight Gain5 463x300 Pristiq and Weight Gain

The only time I find myself feeling incredibly flat is the day after an alcohol binge.  I was talking to a friend the other day who said that apparently one night on the cans can effect the effectiveness of your medication for the following week ... this scared the crap out of me! I mean, I know that you're not meant to drink alcohol on your medication, but I didn't realise quite how serious the effects were. If you binge every Saturday night, then effectively your medication isn't working at all if it upsets your system for the whole week after!

It might sound like an easy decision to just give up drinking but in a small country town where it's part in parcel with socialising, plus my love for a cold beverage after a long day, I've really got to decide whether the binges are worth the lows the next day! If I did stop drinking people would instantly think I'm preggas!

I'm truly so proud of how I've handled my depression Medication reduction;  and I'm growing faith in my bodies ability to proceed serotonin all by itself and my own coping mechanisms for dealing with stress,  fatigue,  being assertive and looking after myself and my health.

Today I finally printed off the fact sheet from the website that the doctor referred me too to start reading more about medication and pregnancy.

I will keep you posted.

I guess what I've learnt is that it's best to do your research and seek multiple opinions if you are thinking about pregnancy in the future, to see what your plan of attack might have to be.

Depression medication isn't something you can just stop, it must be a gradual process, so even if babies seem awhile away, it's best to start planning ahead to give your body time to adjust to any reductions and side effects, so that you can be as healthy and happy as possible when you start trying.

Have you ever started reducing your medication?

Did you take anti depressants while pregnant?

I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxxx

1 comment:

Ella said...

Ultimately its comes down to what is safest for you and the baby.
A question to ask yourself is, is it safer to be off the medication for the babies sake? increased stress and exerted adrenaline is also not healthy for a baby. affecting growth and increased risk of prematurity & miscarriage.

Most of the time if there are no known serious side affects for the baby the recommendations are at the lowest dosage 'happy mum, happy bub'

Not only must you consider pregnancy but also breastfeeding. As what you eat and drink during breastfeeding a small percentage is given to the baby.

A lot to consider!
But most of the time it works.