Pregnancy should be an exciting, happy time for women. However, the experience can be dire for women on psychiatric medications and for women with untreated mental health disorders. Out of the six million pregnant women in the United States every year, ten percent take psychiatric medications. Psychiatric disorders and medications can have adverse effects on the fetus during pregnancy and long-term consequences after birth. The purpose of this presentation is to review the risks of using or stopping psychiatric medications during pregnancy and to propose quantitative electroencephalogram (qEEG) guided neurofeedback therapy as a safe, effective option.
It is widely acknowledged that taking certain psychiatric medications while pregnant is associated with health risks for the infant and mother. The risks to infants include abnormal or dysfunctional fetal development, neonatal toxicity, long-term behavioral consequences, and increased susceptibility to psychiatric disorders later in life. Another area of consideration is an infant’s exposure to the medication through lactation. The risks of continuing medications during pregnancy are apparent; however, one must also consider the potential adverse effects of stopping medication and being untreated.
Untreated psychiatric disorders can result in adverse effects to the child and mother. The risks to the child include impaired development, increased chances of developing a psychiatric disorder or other health issues, and complications during birth. Untreated psychiatric issues during pregnancy can also increase the mother’s chances of developing postpartum depression. Psychiatric illness also impairs the mother’s level of functioning and ability to care for herself and the fetus.
Unfortunately, there are minimal well-designed controlled studies on this topic due to various ethical dilemmas in researching medications during pregnancy. Psychiatrists should perform a risk-benefit assessment for their pregnant patients with psychiatric disorders. Quantitative EEG guided neurofeedback can be used to maintain psychological stability while titrating off medications. Research suggests that the neurological brain abnormalities associated with mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and ADHD, respond to neurofeedback training.
Neurofeedback can also help maintain mood stability and anxiety throughout pregnancy and postpartum period. Unlike medications, neurofeedback is risk-free and non-invasive.
Neurofeedback is a promising option for pregnant women seeking risk-free treatment for psychiatric disorders during pregnancy.
Presented by: Roark & Swatyzna