How Light Therapy Can Reduce Depression in Pregnancy

Depression is the most common mental health worldwide. In the USA, the majority of people are getting depression treatment. Teenage and adults are often the most vulnerable group, depression in pregnant women has the most negative impact.

Bright light therapy is a must-go treat for pregnant women having mild-to-moderate depressive symptoms. Bask under the morning light for half an hour!


Depression is characterized by vulnerable symptoms, such as,

  1. Sadness
  2. Difficulty sleeping
  3. Trouble focusing
  4. Loss of enthusiasm
  5. Anxiety
  6.  Nervousness
  7. Suicidal thoughts
  8. Upset diet
  9.  Feelings of guilt.


Depression in pregnancy

Depression during pregnancy is the most exhausting because pregnant ladies cannot take antidepressant medication. However, even a pregnant mother takes medications – for fever and others – for the wellbeing of the growing fetus, it becomes deathly. The depression makes both women and the unborn baby weak.

As a result, children suffering from maternal depression are most likely to have adverse birth results. It affects their emotional growth.

Depression in pregnancy

Hence, it is important to treat the antepartum depression as soon as possible.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated every 1 in 10 American women suffer from depression at some point in their life. Every 1 in 9 has postpartum depression and 1 in 5 have both, postpartum and antepartum depression. 

Treating antepartum depression

Since antidepressants are illegal during pregnancy, scientists have come up with healthy alternative techniques—bright light therapy.

depression during pregnancy

Yes, you are not dreaming. You can now treat antepartum depression with light therapy because we are living in the age of healthy light bulbs.


Bright light therapy (BLT) and depression

Bright light therapy cures:

  1. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  2. Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  3. Non-seasonal depression
  4. Bulimia Nervosa
  5. Alzheimer

The bright light therapy synchronizes your circadian rhythm with the solar time i.e., it treats advanced sleep phase disorder, delayed sleep phase disorder along with all other circadian sleep disorders.  In other words, BLT works at regulating the right amount of melatonin and cortisol.

light therapy

Usually, when we don’t get enough bright light in the morning, our circadian rhythms make us feel drowsy. Circadian rhythm destabilization disrupts our sleep-wake cycle. We can treat it with circadian rhythm lights because they regulate the intensity and the brightness as per the solar time.  


BLT and safety for the growing fetus

During and after pregnancy, safety is the first thing we all ask for.

The blue light therapy is completely safe and secure for both, the mother and the unborn baby. Take it as: it is as safe and secure for them as it is for any other experiencing it. The therapy has promising results when we use it to treat antepartum depression. 

The therapy involves the pregnant ladies to have a direct 60 minutes exposure to light that either is very bright or dim. It becomes effective within the ten minutes of waking up. A reputable healthcare institute for women’s mental health viewed the concept and held research to study it. Research on 16 pregnant women concluded: depression symptoms tend to reduce by 50% within 3-5 weeks of bright light therapy. The time duration and intensity were 60 minutes and 10,000 lux lights, respectively.

When there is no exposure to sunlight, you will find a circadian rhythm. It has a massive impact on hormone secretion. It negatively affects your biological cycle, hence causes severe depression.

Bright light therapy and depression during pregnancy

The suprachiasmatic nucleus is in the hypothalamus of the brain. It functions to transmit signals from eyes to the brain giving feelings of alertness and sleepiness. Apart from this, it is also responsible to regulate the secretion of hormones. Pregnant ladies turn out to have unhealthy circadian rhythm along with sleep cycle problems. As a result, they continue to have disturbed sleep that directly or indirectly affects their physical productivity.


Open trial

Another study was conducted based on an open trial to test the behavioral changes of to-be-mommies under a bright light therapy for about 5 weeks. The research was classified into two classes: half of the women were exposed to 7000 lux light for 60 minutes daily however, the rest were only given a 500 lux light for the same 60 minutes. There was an improvement of 60 and 41 percent, respectively. 

One should use circadian rhythm lighting during pregnancy to harmonize health.


Last thought

It is highly important to treat the psychiatric illness of mothers while they have a baby growing inside them. People often ignore such conditions assuming that it will not impact the fetus. However, the results can be disastrous starting from premature birth to severe behavioral disorders. The untreated depressive disorder in mothers is most likely to have the following adverse conditions:

  • Birth before time.
  • Low baby weight & among many.

Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful periods in a woman’s life. Untreated depression affects it. There is a glaring fear of antidepressant intake harming the unborn baby. It is best to switch to light therapy to get rid of this antepartum anxiety instead of leaving it to grow chronic.



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Afshan Basher Aly is a guest blogger with a passion for health and wellness topics. She regularly writes about the benefits of circadian lighting, and the benefits of Brilli lighting – a USA based wellness company.

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