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date: 15 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Complementary and alternative (CAM) treatments for depression are increasingly popular with new mothers seeking alternatives to antidepressants. This chapter reviews recent studies on the modalities that have the strongest empirical support. These include long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe), bright light therapy, exercise, and two herbal antidepressants (i.e., St. John’s wort, and kava). As our understanding of the anti-inflammatory mechanism underlying treatments for depression increases, this research may suggest still more treatments or combinations of treatments that can help pregnant and postpartum women recover quickly from perinatal depression. Safety considerations for breastfeeding mothers are reviewed for each modality, and reasons that mothers might choose these approaches over antidepressant medications are described.

Keywords: Postpartum depression, omega-3s, SAMe, bright light therapy, exercise, St. John’s wort, Kava

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