AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say acupuncture may effectively treat depression during pregnancy.
The researchers say the rates of depression for pregnant women -- about 10 percent meet the criteria for major depression and almost 20 percent have increased symptoms of depression -- are similar to rates among similarly-aged non-pregnant women.
However, using antidepressant drugs raises concerns for the developing fetus.
"The results of our study show that the acupuncture protocol we tested could be a viable treatment option for depression during pregnancy," Rosa Schnyer of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Texas at Austin said in a statement.
Schnyer and colleagues conducted an evaluator-blinded randomized trial in which 150 pregnant women who met the criteria of major depressive disorder received either eight weeks of acupuncture specific for depression or one of two active controls -- control acupuncture or massage. Women receiving acupuncture specific for depression experienced a significantly greater decrease in depression severity compared to the controls.
Mild and transient side effects were reported by 43 participants -- 4 in massage; 19 in control acupuncture, 20 in specific acupuncture.
The study findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in Chicago.