An open trial of morning light therapy for treatment of antepartum depression

Dan A. Oren*, Katherine L. Wisner, Margaret Spinelli, C. Neill Epperson, Kathleen S. Peindl, Jiuan Su Terman, Michael Terman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


Objective: About 5% of pregnant women meet criteria for major depression. No pharmacotherapy is specifically approved for antepartum depression; novel treatment approaches may be welcome. The authors explored the use of morning bright light therapy for antepartum depression. Method: An open trial of bright light therapy in an A-B-A design was conducted for 3-5 weeks in 16 pregnant patients with major depression. The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, Seasonal Affective Disorders Version, was administered to assess changes in mood. A follow-up questionnaire was used to assess outcome after delivery. Results: After 3 weeks of treatment, mean depression ratings improved by 49%. Benefits were seen through 5 weeks of treatment. There was no evidence of adverse effects of light therapy on pregnancy. Conclusions: These data provide evidence that morning light therapy has an antidepressant effect during pregnancy. A randomized controlled trial is warranted to test this alternative to medication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)666-669
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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