Women's views of antidepressants in the treatment of postnatal depression

J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. Sep-Dec 2004;25(3-4):221-33. doi: 10.1080/01674820400017889.


Little research has been carried out on the treatment of postnatal depression and clinicians must currently rely on general recommendations for the use of antidepressants. Antidepressant medication as the main treatment for depression in general practice has been shown to be effective when used as prescribed. However, research has shown that depressed patients consistently receive either no medication or consistently low doses of medication. This study will investigate women's experiences of taking antidepressant medication for postnatal depression. Thirty-five women with a clinical diagnosis of postnatal depression who had been prescribed antidepressant medication completed a questionnaire detailing their experiences of taking medication. Four open-ended questions and responses were discussed with the women. Of the 35 women who were prescribed medication, 4 chose not to take it because they were breast-feeding. Twenty of the women described finding medication helpful. Although only 4 women directly reported not taking antidepressants as prescribed, the comments made by a further 9 women suggest that compliance may have been poor. This study suggests a need to improve information about medication for postnatal depression. If this information is not provided, women are likely to continue to self-manage medication at a dosage that may be clinically ineffective.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Depression, Postpartum / drug therapy*
  • Depression, Postpartum / psychology*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data
  • Pregnancy
  • Self Efficacy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Antidepressive Agents