Depression with pregnancy is more common than you might think. One study estimates that about 13 percent of pregnant women will experience depression during their second trimester.  This is made even more difficult because pregnant women cannot take any antidepressants.

Now, a study in the March issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology may provide a way to help these women. A group of researchers at Stanford University provided one of three treatments to 150 pregnant women with major depression. The women received either acupuncture specific to depression, general acupuncture or massage therapy for 12 sessions over eight weeks. At the end of the treatments, they found that the women who received depression-specific acupuncture treatment had a 63 percent response rate, compared to either of the other two control treatments (44 percent.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that depression-specific acupuncture could be considered a “viable treatment option.”


Manber R, Schnyer RN, Lyell D, et al. Acupuncture for depression during pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial. Obstet Gynecol 2010 Mar;115(3):511-20.

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