Perinatal Depression and tDCS

‘When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.’ Sophia Loren, Women and Beauty.

The target audience for this blog are time limited, exhausted, stressed and need clear facts to help guide decisions that not only impact themselves but their children as well. For this reason we are going to keep it clear and concise, and give you a countdown of ten points to consider:


Ten: Definition. Depression can occur before or during pregnancy and after childbirth, so the term ‘perinatal depression’ covers this entire period, from the time your bub is conceived until your little one is 12 months old (Parker, Ayers & Boyce, 2014).

Nine: You are not alone. Depression is a leading cause of disability among women worldwide (Kessler, 2003). Depression is even more common during your childbearing years (Bonari, 2004).

Eight: There will be ups and downs. It is absolutely normal to experience a wide range of emotional experiences during the perinatal period. Physical changes in pregnancy can affect your emotions and mood, and being a parent may challenge you more than what you may ever anticipate (Beyond Blue, 2016).

Photo by  Ryan Franco  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ryan Franco on Unsplash


Seven: While it might seem really hard to do, act on what you know is not right, and get help to get back to yourself. If you have experienced symptoms of depression for more than two weeks, if these feelings are affecting your life, it is time to seek assistance (Beyond Blue, 2016).

Six: Take care with medications. While antidepressant drug treatment may improve depressive symptoms, it can cross the placenta and may pose risks to the unborn child (Vigod, 2014). Mother’s also have reasonable concerns regarding medications and breast feeding (Parker, Ayers & Boyce, 2014).

Five: There are other options. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive brain stimulation treatment that can improve depressive symptoms within 3 weeks of treatment by inducing changes to brain areas involved in depression, without impacting any other brain areas, and without inducing other changes ie. heart rate, blood pressure or core body temperature (Vigod, 2014).

Photo by  on  Unsplash

Four: There is a growing body of evidence to support tDCS treatment. A study completed at the Black Dog Institute Australia found participants with active depression treated with active tDCS experienced significantly greater improvement in mood following three weeks of treatment (Loo et al. 2012).

Three: tDCS increases the excitability, plasticity and potential for positive change in the brain regions involved with depression (Hunter, 2013). A course of tDCS treatment can improve mood on its own. tDCS treatments work even better when coupled with well researched and meaningful activities to drive your neuroplasticity (the ability of your brain to change) in a positive direction.

Two: tDCS is safe and effective. An extensive study was published last year verifying the efficacy and safety of tDCS. Bikson (2016) assures that of over 33,200 sessions included in their review of human studies there have been no serious adverse effects with use of tDCS.

One: There is only one you, there is only one Mum like you. When you have the strength to seek help and recover from a period of depression, your resilience will make you and your Family stronger.

The Perth Brain Centre has a highly skilled team of health professionals with wide ranging experience in the treatment of depression (and other mood disorders) through brain based interventions including tDCS. If it is time for you to seek help and would like to speak with a friendly Practitioner to find out more information, please do not hesitate to call 6500 3277.

If you are reading this right now, and feel you need more urgent care, here are some helpful contacts:

PANDA: Post and Antenatal Depression Association (Mon –Fri ONLY) 1300 726 306

Lifeline: 24/7 Crisis Support 13 11 14

Beyond Blue: 24/7 1300 22 4636

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