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Is TMS Safe During Pregnancy?

Is TMS Safe During Pregnancy?

Is TMS Safe During Pregnancy?

Published: July 28, 2022

This article will explain what TMS therapy is, what contraindications are, and confirm whether or not TMS therapy is safe to undergo during pregnancy. It will discuss why TMS therapy is more effective than using antidepressant medications, and it will highlight why there are not any significant risks associated with TMS therapy. This article will also outline the side effects of this treatment, and provide information regarding where this treatment can be provided.

What Is TMS?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a form of therapy that is used to treat people experiencing depressive symptoms. These patients also suffer from drug-resistant depression, and therefore, are unable to take other forms of medication or therapy in order to address the symptoms of their depression.

Is Pregnancy a Contraindication for TMS?

What Is a Contraindication?

For those unfamiliar with the term, a contraindication is an issue or thing (e.g., a condition or symptom) that can prevent a procedure or form of treatment from being able to be carried out or a factor that makes it inadvisable to continue with the proposed treatment or procedure.

Contraindications For Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy

There are a few different contraindications that could prevent patients from being able to receive TMS therapy. These include tattoos that contain magnet-sensitive ink or any sort of magnetic materials, cochlear implants, implants anywhere in the body that contain metal, aneurysm clips, and mental stents.

Is TMS Therapy a Safe and Effective Treatment for Pregnant Women?

In short, there is no immediate data or research to indicate that TMS therapy is unsafe for pregnant women with major depressive disorder or depressive symptoms in general. Moreover, it appears that TMS therapy does not cause any harm to the unborn baby either. So to answer the question, pregnancy is not a contraindication for TMS therapy.

This type of treatment is typically prescribed to pregnant women who are resistant to traditional antidepressant medication as an alternative treatment for antenatal (also known as prenatal) depression and postpartum depression during pregnancy (also known as postnatal depression).

Read more: TMS Therapy for ADHD

Electroconvulsive Therapy For Pregnant Women

Electroconvulsive Therapy or ECT has been shown to be an effective treatment for people suffering from depression. Moreover, it can be used safely to treat women who have experienced a major depressive episode, or who are experiencing continuing depression during pregnancy. It has also been shown to be particularly beneficial for patients who have previously had ECT therapy and experienced positive results.

Studies suggest that ECT is predominately safe for pregnant women as a form of therapy for depression. However, in some rare cases, it has led to premature births, miscarriages, and overall problems within the uterus. These instances were minimal, however, and it would appear that ECT is overall a safe treatment for women experiencing depression during pregnancy.

The Dangers Of Depression For Pregnant Mothers

The dangers that may face depressed mothers who do not receive TMS treatment or any other form of effective treatment to address their depression during pregnancy may include giving birth to children with lower birth weight. It may increase the chance of the woman experiencing a miscarriage, and they might also be at higher risk of facing a preterm birth (a premature birth).

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is pretty common in mothers, and there are quite a few symptoms that can affect women's mental health immediately after the birth of their child. For instance, they might feel a loss of control over their life. Additionally, they might feel intense sadness, hopelessness, difficulty with making decisions, or experience panic attacks and severe anxiety. They might also feel that they are unable to look after their baby.

A big issue with depression during pregnancy and thereafter is that it could affect the relationship that the mother forms with her child. This in turn can cause problems later down the line, if there is a failure from the mother to form a bond with her child. Depression is the cause of this, though it is not known what causes postpartum depression.

Therefore, it is essential for mothers to be able to get access to effective treatment for depression, so as to avoid problems such as lack of attachment with their children, as well as the issues that depression can cause to a person's mental health.

Read more: TMS Therapy for Parkinson Disease

TMS Therapy as an Alternative Form of Treatment for Depression

In an open-label pilot study conducted by Kim DR & Epperson N on women who received TMS treatment during pregnancy, it was found that TMS and ECT are effective forms of alternative therapy. A subsequent follow-up study found that TMS produced mild headaches in patients, but it was also found that TMS therapy showed a significant decrease in symptoms of depression in pregnant women.

What Are the Side Effects of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy?

The side effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy may include lightheadedness, muscle spasms, frequent twitching of the facial muscles, tingling sensations felt throughout the body, mild headaches, pain or discomfort around the scalp in the region where the procedure took place, seizures, hysteria, and the potential for hearing loss problems.

What Are the Dangers of TMS Therapy?

There do not appear to be major risks or long-term dangers associated with TMS therapy, provided that measures have been correctly checked before the procedure has occurred and provided that there are no contraindications present that could put the patient at an increased risk of danger during treatment.

Does TMS Therapy Cause Brain Damage?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy does not cause brain damage. However, this is with the understanding that all of the necessary precautions and screening measures have been taken and implemented before treatment has occurred.

Moreover, the patient needs to have been checked for contraindications that could potentially affect the treatment (such as ferromagnetic metals contained within the brain that could cause adverse effects during treatment).

If a patient did receive TMS treatment and they had metal within their body, the electromagnetic pulses created by the transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy could have extremely dangerous adverse effects, and could even lead to fatalities.

TMS in Comparison With Other Forms of Depression Treatment

TMS therapy does not appear to cause any major long-term life-altering effects in comparison to other types of medication and procedures for treating depression during pregnancy. In contrast, anti-depressant medications may cause weight gain, dry mouth, problems with the sex drive, sedation, and issues within the intestines.

Where Is TMS Treatment Available?

TMS treatment is available at GIA Miami, which can provide state-of-the-art treatment for women's mental health and depression during pregnancy. It's essential to consider how life commitments and schedules may be affected by the treatment process. Therefore, the decision on where to undergo TMS therapy should be made with these factors in mind. GIA Miami staff will work with you, providing information, support, and encouragement along the way.

This form of therapy is available as part of our outpatient treatment programs, meaning that people can attend regular sessions at a clinic. Outpatient treatment can be tailored to your particular needs.

TMS therapy might initially help to relieve some of the symptoms you are experiencing, but you might also find it useful to take part in other forms of therapy as well. Behavioral therapy might be beneficial for you too, as you might find that talk therapy is useful. It will help you to build coping mechanisms and confidence within yourself which you can then use to overcome depressive thoughts.

At GIA Miami, the treatment of each of our patients is individualized, using the latest scientific research combined with care and concern. We can help you along the road to recovery.

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