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Adweta Tomar6 months ago

Can pregnant mothers undergo ECT?

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6 months ago

Pregnant mothers diagnosed with major depressive disorders, schizophrenia, catatonia and other psychiatric illness that has reached to a severe level are recommended to undergo electroconvulsive therapy when psychotherapy is irresponsive or if they have become resistant to the medications. Drugs are avoided during pregnancy as they may cause harm to the foetus. Thus, ECT is the safest treatment for patients with psychiatric disorders during pregnancy. Anaesthetics are also safe to be administered as the transfer across the maternal-foetal barrier is minimal. During pregnancy, the patient has to get an evaluation from her gynaecologist to proceed with the procedure. Before the treatment, the patient’s doctors must discuss the case and decide on the treatment. While the treatment is being conducted, the gynaecologist, anesthesiologist, and psychiatrists should monitor the patient and the foetus. Before ECT, the patient should undergo a pelvic examination in case of vaginal bleeding or cervical dilation. It is recommended to intubate the patient after the first trimester as they are at risk of gastric regurgitation and pulmonary aspiration during the procedure. A lactating mother can also undergo ECT as the anaesthetics will not cause harm to the nursing baby. A patient can always take precautions by collecting breast milk a few hours before ECT and storing it or they can delay feeding for few hours after the treatment. All in all, ECT is the safest and most effective treatment during pregnancy provided that the potential risks are decreased. ECT is also considered safe regarding the foetus because it does not cause teratogenicity

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