*The FDA has not approved intravenous ketamine or NAD+ for the treatment of any psychiatric or pain condition. These articles reference off-label use. Like all medical treatments, the discussed therapies carry risks and benefits. Speak with a doctor at Clarus Health to learn if these therapies may be right for you.

Ketamine Therapy
May 22, 2024

Postpartum Depression: Can Ketamine Help?

Learn how IV Ketamine can reduce postpartum depression symptoms to improve mother and baby health

Postpartum Depression: Can Ketamine Help?

Post-partum depression, called the "baby blues," is surprisingly common. It affects 6-26% of women across the world, from low to high income settings. It can have serious side effects, including:

Learn more about how a single IV Ketamine infusion can help reduce these risks to mothers, families, and children.

How to Reduce Risk of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression likely results from pregnancy stress and estrogen/progesterone dysregulating monoamine neurotransmitters and/or the HPA hormonal axis.

Fortunately, the risk of postpartum depression can be decreased. The first step is to address the risk factors for postpartum depression, such as:

  • Prenatal depression
  • Poor physical health and less social support
  • Lower economic status and educational attainment
  • History of exposure to violence

It's no surprise that postpartum depression rates increased during the covid-19 pandemic.

Ketamine vs Antidepressants for Postpartum Depression

Unfortunately, antidepressants pose 3 problems to new mothers:

IV Ketamine is an anesthetic with a powerful anti-depressant effect for months, or even years.

Because IV Ketamine is sometimes given in cesarian sections, it has been safely researched in numerous studies for its effect on maternal mental health and postpartum depressive symptoms (and see here). Some studies even look at IV Ketamine specifically as a preventive strategy to reduce the risk of postpartum depression. These studies show great promise because:

  • A single IV Ketamine dose peripartum can produce a powerful effect
  • The time-to-improvement is hours to days (instead of weeks)
  • The effect can last over 1 month
  • Side effects are very low
  • There is much less infant exposure because this is a one-time dose
  • Breastfeeding is largely uninterrupted
Wang, Shuo, et al. "Efficacy of a single low dose of esketamine after childbirth for mothers with symptoms of prenatal depression: randomised clinical trial." bmj 385 (2024).

IV Ketamine Reduces Postpartum Depression Symptoms for Weeks

Remarkably, a single IV Ketamine infusion given around the time of C-section can reduce depressive symptoms for over 1 month. This is very different than the weeks of oral antidepressive medications taken every day. Furthermore, the side effects of a single IV Ketamine infusion are considerably low and short-lived, typically less than 24 hours.

Fortunately, because this is a one-time infusion, the risk of medication reaching the infant is much lower compared to daily medications.

Learn More About IV Ketamine for Post-Partum Depression

If you have risk factors for developing postpartum depression, you should speak with your obstetrician (OB). Doctors at Clarus Health will work with your OB to develop a treatment plan to safely improve your mood. Learn more by scheduling a free consultation with Clarus Health to learn if IV Ketamine Therapy may be effective in improving your mood after delivery.

Anthony Kaveh MD

Anthony Kaveh MD

Dr. Kaveh is a Stanford and Harvard-trained anesthesiologist and integrative medicine specialist. He has over 800,000 followers on social media and has guided hundreds of patients throughout transformative healing experiences. He is an authority on Ketamine, NAD, and SGB therapies. He is a registered continuing education lecturer in the Bay Area.