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Woman suffering from postpartum depression.

Treating Postpartum Depression

New motherhood is supposed to be one of the most special times in a woman’s life. But for the one in seven women who experience postpartum depression, the weeks — or even months — after welcoming a new baby into the world can be extremely challenging. Postpartum depression is much more than just the “baby blues.” It’s a serious medical condition that impacts your ability to take care of both yourself and your baby. Fortunately, it’s treatable.

Zulresso: A New FDA-Approved Postpartum Depression Treatment

The FDA recently announced the approval of Zulresso for the treatment of postpartum depression. The medication, also known as brexanolone, can bring relief within several hours after intravenous (IV) administration. Zulresso is unique in that provides patients with a synthetic version of allopregnanolone, a steroid that is found in high levels during pregnancy. Postpartum depression often occurs when those levels drop sharply during delivery.

What To Expect From Zulresso

While there are benefits to this medication, there are some significant drawbacks to consider.  It may be inconvenient and inaccessible to some mothers.

Women who obtain Zulresso treatment will need to plan on spending a few days in a health care facility while they receive IV infusion for 60 consecutive hours. During those two and a half days, they will be monitored by health care professionals at all times.

Additionally, Zulresso comes at a price — literally. The treatment costs between $20,000 and $35,000 and insurance may not cover it.

Regardless, the FDA’s approval of Zulresso is a step forward for women who are living with postpartum depression. This will likely be the first of multiple treatment options that get approved.

TMS for Postpartum Depression: A Cost-Effective Alternate

What if you’re looking for a more affordable treatment that doesn’t require hospitalization? If you’re not interested in taking antidepressants — or if you’ve shown resistance to them — you have another highly effective treatment option.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, is an FDA-cleared treatment for depression. While it hasn’t yet been FDA-approved for postpartum depression, it’s completely safe for new mothers and is a more cost-effective postpartum depression treatment option than Zulresso.

TMS works by delivering magnetic pulses that stimulate underactive areas of the brain associated with depression. Because TMS retrains your neurons to function normally on their own, over two-thirds of patients experience significant long-lasting improvement.

And the best part is that treatments are quick and noninvasive. There is no anesthesia and no negative cognitive effects from the non-invasive TMS treatment that takes about 20 minutes a day for 4-6 weeks. During your daily session, you’ll sit in a comfortable chair with a treatment “helmet” on your head. After your treatment, you’re able to immediately return to your daily activities.

If you’re living with postpartum depression and want to explore your treatment options, don’t hesitate to contact Calabasas Behavioral Health & TMS Center in Calabasas and Simi Valley, California.