Medications can be effective treatments for postpartum depression and are usually recommended by both doctors and psychiatrists for moms who experience postpartum depression. Anti-depressants, specifically SSRIs, are often the first choice of medications for postpartum depression. Breastfeeding mothers have a small list of options of anti-depressants that are considered compatible with nursing. These options include Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Effexor, and Prozac, with Zoloft considered the safest. Natural medications such as St. John’s Wort have not been subject to the same level of clinical testing to determine whether or not they are safe for use in nursing moms.
Mothers who are not breastfeeding have more options, including all anti-depressants, anti-psychotic medications, and natural herbs such as St. John’s Wort. A doctor will be able to help mothers to determine the best course of action for each individual situation. Anti-psychotic medications are not readily prescribed, but in some cases they are necessary. If a mother has thoughts of harming herself or anyone else, anti-psychotics and mood stabilizers will often be prescribed, sometimes in addition to anti-depressants.
Hormone therapy is thought to be effective in helping mothers get past postpartum depression. Hormone therapy uses estrogen supplements to supplement low levels. Although effective in some situations, hormone therapy also has some risks, including an increased risk of breast cancer, blood clots, strokes, and heart disease. Mothers who wish to nurse may not be able to use hormone therapy as a method of treatment.