Acupuncture may offer a drug-free alternative for treating depression in pregnant women, researchers have found.
A study found that more pregnant women with depression benefited from acupuncture than those who had a sham treatment with needles or an ordinary massage. Two thirds of women who had the real acupuncture reported a significant improvement of their symptoms, compared to less than half of those who had the other treatments.
The approach may be particularly beneficial as depression in pregnancy can cause serious complications if left untreated and yet women are reluctant to take drugs while carrying their child, the researchers said.
Lead author Dr Rachel Manber, professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences, said: "This standardised acupuncture protocol could be a viable treatment option for depression during pregnancy.
"Because there is this concern about medication among pregnant women and their physicians, it's important to find an alternative,"