Healthier Me: New Support Group for Pregnant Women - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

New Support Group for Pregnant Women Suffering From Depression

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Pregnant women with a history of depression or anxiety can face difficult and confusing choices about treating their symptoms. Both anxiety disorders and depression can develop or worsen during or after pregnancy, but taking medication during pregnancy has to be considered carefully, since most medications cross the placenta and go to the unborn baby.

Now, a new support group at Sanford Health is helping pregnant women cope with their depression through counseling.

Any treatment plan has risks and benefits, and for pregnant women, the risks are of particular concern.  But now, Sanford health doctors are prescribing something new for their patients. A depression/anxiety group for pregnant women now meets once a week.

Sanford behavioral health specialists lead the group. They learn ways to manage anxiety and depression during their pregnancy through:

- Mindful meditation
- How to "let go"
- Relaxation skills
- Behavioral activation

The support group started in January, but already doctors are seeing improvements in their patients.  Sanford Health's Dr. James Kappenman says, "it has been good for my patients." He adds, "the patients who have gone to the group have had to use a lower dose of anti-depressants than they would have otherwise had to."

You do need a doctor's prescription to attend the class. It is not open to everyone.

Doctors also add that pregnant or not, research shows that counseling in addition to medications helps patients with their symptoms.


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