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use of Alpha Stim in pregnancy

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  • use of Alpha Stim in pregnancy

    Hello,
    Not a medication per se, but I am curious about your thoughts on the use of Alpha Stim cranial electrical stimulation in pregnant mothers.

    I am a psychologist working with pregnant/new moms in OBGYN/NICU at a local hospital. The information that I have found related to using this device is that there is not any research on it in pregnant women, so it is recommended that people talk with their providers about its use. In general, this seems to be a low-risk treatment to offer to pregnant mothers; there is evidence that supports the use of ECT in pregnant mothers, and this treatment is far less risky than ECT. If there is no reason to suspect that any harm would come from using the alpha stim in this population, I would love to offer it to our moms on bedrest.

    Thanks for your thoughts,
    Jen

  • #2
    Hi, thanks for your post.

    Dr. Hale and I have discussed this question. We don't have any experience with Alpha Stim in pregnant women, anecdotal or otherwise. My search of the available literature turned up pretty much what you found: no research on Alpha Stim with pregnant women and a general consensus that ECT was safe in the same population. If you wanted to build a robust argument in favor of Alpha Stim, you may have to start by generalizing from safety research on other local electrical techniques, such as TENS or surgical electrocautery, being used on pregnant women. It would also be helpful to show that Alpha Stim, or at least ECT, does not alter the hormones produced by the brain in a way that might be damaging to a fetus. Such a study may not exist. I don't think the medical community even has a satisfactory understanding of how these therapies affect the CNS, despite the well-documented positive outcomes of ECT. As with many things, I think your recommendation will depend on the level of evidence that you personally require to assess a therapy's risks and benefits.

    -James Abbey, MD

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