Can you do light therapy while pregnant?

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Last Updated on 3 years by Francis


Can you do light therapy while pregnant?

pregnant woman

Pregnancy is a precious yet difficult journey for a woman. A woman may go through high blood pressure levels, swollen feet, back aches, cramps, hypertension, gestational diabetes and so many other common conditions.

People usually neglect depression, but most women who are pregnant are depressed too. With all the hormonal imbalances that a woman may go through, it becomes very tricky to identify symptoms of depression in everything that is already going on.

Depression in pregnant women can be due to the chemical changes that are taking place in the brain or it can be due to the fear, stress, or anxiety a woman may have due to pregnancy.

What are the signs of depression in a pregnant woman?

Some of the signs of depression in a pregnant woman are as follow:

  • a) Lack of focus
  • b) Anxiety or feeling anxious at every other thing
  • c) Disturbed sleep cycle
  • d) Feeling unworthy
  • e) Lack of appetite or increased appetite

What things can trigger depression in pregnant women?

Depression in women has to have a trigger, it can be triggered due to some traumatic event that took place, hardships of life, problems in the relationship with partner or family, complications in pregnancy, loss of a child in the past and there could many other reasons.

Depression in a pregnant woman is a mix of some chemical changes and the trigger. Women can also get depressed by listening to other people’s life stories.

Many women do not pay much attention to depression in the earlier stages and then it becomes a trouble in the later stages as complications are caused by it.

It is necessary for the women to have a safe and comfortable environment during their pregnancy so that the baby can develop properly by getting proper nutrition.

Is depression unhealthy for the mother and child?

If the depression remains untreated, then it can cause complications in the pregnancy which is dangerous for the mother and the child both. In extreme depression during pregnancy, the child can be born with birth defects because it will not be developed properly. Depression leads to a less careful behavior of the woman where she doesn’t take care of herself and the unborn baby. Lack of nutrition due to improper diet can lead to developmental problems in the child. When women are depressed during pregnancy, it is likely that there will be a shift in the eating habits. In both cases, where the woman is eating less or she is eating way too much, it is harmful for her health and the baby. Even if the baby is born healthy to a mother who was depressed during pregnancy, the baby will be less active, weak and less strong as compared to the babies born to mothers who were not depressed.

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If a normal woman is depressed, the doctors would provide treatment through medication usually, using anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills.

However, during pregnancy, these pills are not safe for the health of the mother and her child. So, to prevent any complications or fatalities, it is necessary to treat the depression that a pregnant woman is suffering with, without any harmful medication.

What ways can be used for treatment of depression in pregnancy?

  • a) Psychotherapy

The pregnant woman suffering from depression can seek help from a psychotherapist while discussing her problems to give her mental peace and to ensure her mental wellbeing so that the baby can be born in good health. The therapists take various sessions in which they can talk to the patient in detail and try to lessen the intensity of depression. These counselling sessions can be very helpful but they may not be effective every time. This can be slightly difficult if the patient is not willing to go a psychotherapist, even if she is willing to go, she might not open up which can be troubling.

  • b) Support groups

The second option is going to support groups, the pregnant woman can go to support groups where she can meet women who are going through the same journey as of her. This will make her relaxed and allow her to share whatever resides in her heart. This activity will release her mental stress while protecting the baby from any developmental problems. The problem that might arise here is that when you are depressed you don’t want to meet new people, or you don’t want to make public appearances. This can be a hurdle in the way of woman as she might not want to go to support groups.

  • c) Light therapy
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Lastly, a highly effective option for pregnant women to leave depression behind while taking care of the unborn child is use light therapy. After consulting with the doctor, the woman can start the light therapy. If the doctor suggests lower intensity in the start then she can even opt for light therapy glasses and if not then she can opt for a light box. Everyday at a certain time, the pregnant woman can sit nearby the light box where her eyes are exposed to the light being emitted from the light box. The light from the light box acts as an instant anti-depressant while helps relieves depression and stress. With consistent sessions of light therapy, the pregnant woman will eventually be free of depression.

Is light therapy safe for pregnant women?

The light boxes which are created for SAD are safe for pregnant woman as it filters out the UV rays making it completely safe, the light with the intensity of 7,000-10,000 lux is said to be beneficial in reducing the intensity of depression. However, the light boxes that are created for skin related issues must not be used as they will end up being harmful for the skin instead of being beneficial for the mother and baby. The light therapy is not only helpful for the mother in being stress free, having a regular sleep cycle but it is also completely safe for the fetus. However, any light therapy equipment that releases UV radiations will leave its adverse effects.

Women who are pregnant yet not depressed should still take light therapy sessions in the winters. In the winters, there is less exposure to sun which declines the Vitamin D level in the body. As winter arrives, pregnant women with consultation of their doctor can start using light therapy to ensure better sleep cycles, maintained Vitamin D levels and coping with depression.

Can pregnant women use light therapy for disturbed sleep cycles?

sleeping problems resulting in harmful medicines

In the later stages of pregnancy, women face insomnia and uncomfortable sleep at night due to the backache, hormonal imbalances and swollen feet. Some women also face delayed sleep phase syndrome during pregnancy as well. It becomes difficult for them to sleep early at night.

Sleeping pills are again not a good option because all the pills whether sleeping pills or anti-depressants, they have the ability to reach the placenta which can be harmful for both the baby and the mother. In this case, to fix the irregular sleep cycle, using light therapy is a suitable option.

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With light therapy women will be able to get proper sleep, which will make them relaxed and hence it will keep the mommy and baby healthy.

Who should avoid light therapy?

As light therapy is healthy for pregnant women, elderly and all other people. So, who should avoid light therapy and what are the situations in which you should stay away from light therapy? Well, the doctors suggest that people who have lupus, they must avoid light therapy, as they are taking a variety of drugs so we never know what reaction takes place. In this case, people with lupus should avoid light therapy.

Secondly, people who have skin cancer, or have had skin cancer they should definitely say away from light therapy. Also, if you have any skin condition, then you must consult with your doctor before you start light therapy because it is possible that it might not be beneficial for you.

Thirdly, people who are taking any kind of medication for any disease or condition, they need to figure out whether the light therapy is helpful for them or not through their doctor. People who are on any sort of medication should never start light therapy without discussing it with their doctor first.

As far as pregnant women are concerned, light therapy is safe for them. It will help in maintaining Vitamin D levels, it will also allow them to sleep better at night and most importantly, it will reduce depression.

Women residing in cold areas can use light therapy to prevent SAD, due to this, they will have a happy and comfortable pregnancy unlike women who are depressed and tired of muscle aches.

However, it is essential that the pregnant women consult their doctors before taking any supplement, any home remedy, any therapy or any other kind of treatment. Consulting with your doctor will let you have a comfortable yet stress free time while you are pregnant.

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