Up to 14 percent of pregnant women may have major depressive disorder, a condition characterized by feelings of dread, gloom and hopelessness, and a loss of interest in normally pleasurable activities. Some women suffer from depression before becoming pregnant, stop taking their medication and then experience a relapse; in other women, pregnancy itself may cause depression. Depression, if left untreated, can pose risks to both mother and baby. The mom-to-be could stop taking care of herself or her fetus, and might even engage in self-destructive behavior. Studies have also linked depression during pregnancy to poor birth outcomes and postpartum depression.
Stanford researchers found that women who received the depression-specific acupuncture experienced a bigger reduction in depression symptoms than the women in the other groups. The response rate — defined as having a 50 percent or greater reduction in symptoms — was 63 percent for the women receiving depression-specific acupuncture, compared with 44 percent for the women in the other two treatment groups combined.
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