Stop the Mothers Act!

STOP THE MOTHERS Act – A nationwide screening program for psychiatric disorders which encourages drugs to pregnant and postpartum women
URGENT – VISIT and call the HELP Committee and HELP Committee Chair Senator Edward Kennedy TODAY! 2/13/08 They are looking at this tomorrow, Valentine’s Day. OBAMA is a cosponsor.To the HELP Committee of the United States Senate:

For years, the March of Dimes has warned not to use meds while pregnant. Why now encourage mothers to take drugs?

Please register this extreme objection to the proposed MOTHERS Act (S. 1375) which is now before you in committee. It is my earnest hope that you will immediately defeat this bill in committee. The bill has been brought to you under the guise of ensuring safety or support for new mothers- however, nothing could be further from the truth.

The bill was originally proposed in response to the death by suicide of Melanie Stokes, a pharmaceutical rep. who took her own life by leaping from a balcony several stories off of the ground. Contrary to popular understanding it was not post-partum depression that killed Melanie, but the numerous antidepressant drugs she was taking, which the FDA confirmed double the suicide risk.

Nobody is suggesting that new moms do not ever experience mood swings, depression, or even psychotic episodes. The more important issue is what the effect of this bill will be and why nobody is addressing potential methods of prevention. Everyone knows how many young moms experience gestational diabetes, but who is addressing the even higher rate of gestational hypoglycemia, which often initially manifests as depression? This is a physical condition that is treated with diet and is exacerbated by antidepressants (which list hypoglycemia as a side effect).

To simply screen women for post-partum mood disorders and ensure that they get “treatment,” we would be setting families up for the expectation of tragedy and increasing the chances of that actually happening when we refer them to medical “professionals” who are oblivious to the negative mind-altering effects of psychiatric drugs. A popular opinion among medical caregivers these days is that “post-partum mood disorders” must be a sign of an underlying biochemical imbalance and would be corrected with drugs.

Current drugs used on post-partum women include SSRIs, atypical antidepressants, and even antipsychotic drugs. These pose a significant risk to the immediate safety and health of women as well as their children and families. SSRIs carry a black box warning for suicide and the most popular one, Effexor (the same med. Andrea Yates was taking when she drowned her 5 children), has the words “homicidal ideation” listed as a side effect. Nearly every recent case of infanticide which has made news can be clearly linked back to a psychiatric drug. These drugs endanger babies and mothers.

Additionally, the drugs can be extremely addictive and also pose a risk to nurslings or babies exposed in subsequent pregnancies. Some babies have died from SIDS linked to exposure from pregnancy or nursing; others have experienced coma, seizures, GI bleeding, heart defects, lung problems, and many babies died before reaching full term or soon after birth.

The bill does not address the fact that studies show that biological agents (antidepressants for example) cited in the bill and already prescribed to pregnant women can cause congenital heart birth defects where children have had to undergo open-heart surgeries to correct this. Also, some babies are being born with organs outside their bodies, requiring immediate surgery.

In closing I want to re-emphasize the total lack of any real answer to post-partum depression posed by this bill. If we can prevent post-partum depression or support moms through it, or offer proven SAFE and EFFECTIVE natural alternatives to dangerous drugs, then we should. However we should never, ever become party to a pharmaceutical campaign to push drugs on the public. We will set ourselves up for disaster if we allow an invasion into the privacy of every family in the country and suggest to our most vulnerable citizens that they might be mentally ill.

We must do everything in our power to protect innocent children, and giving their mothers addictive drugs which pose a significant risk of causing suicide and violence does not protect anyone. It does cause the child to become addicted while still in the womb and sets up drug dependence which can be lifelong.

We still have no idea what effect most drugs have on developing brains. It might take decades for the impact on the developing brain to become apparent.

For information on the research pertaining to the risks of antidepressants and other treatments for new moms and their babies, details about the Melanie Stokes case (or you can read the letter by Dr. Ann Blake Tracy at, as well as information on prevention strategies and safe, effective treatments for post-partum mood disorders, please contact us.


Amy Philo

Camille Milke
New Mexico State Director of the ICFDA (
Mother of a victim of psychiatric drug-induced suicide and grandmother to a now motherless child

Dr. Ann Blake Tracy
Executive Director of the ICFDA
Author of Prozac: Pancaea or Pandora? Our Serotonin Nightmare


(available online:

Prevention and Alternatives Information from UNITE (

I. Danger of drugs
A. Inducing suicide and homicide,

B. Addiction, subsequent pregnancies threatened, nurslings threatened: (details on spontaneous abortions and other pregnancy risks) (See pages 17-18, Pregnancy paragraph – which states that an increase in stillbirths and newborn deaths occurred from pregnancy plus nursing exposure)

Note: despite claims of minimal exposure to nurslings by some health professionals, the data on “safety” of nursing a baby while taking SSRIs and antipsychotics is based on an extremely small sample (nevermind that serious adverse events have been observed even in the few studies actually done). For SSRIs the studies amount to a few dozen people, many of which were also supplementally feeding formula. The Zyprexa study purported to study only 7 nursing couples and only examined 6 children’s blood. See for more information on the risks of Zyprexa.

II. Prevention of Post-Partum Mood Disorders:

A. Avoid interventions in childbirth: HOME BIRTH or midwifery or otherwise natural childbirth statistically results in LESS PPD…

Mothers Can Avoid (Specifically):

1. Labor drugs, including pitocin which interferes with normal oxytocin stimulation of uterine contractions (oxytocin is the love hormone and sets off many chemicals in the brain associated with normal maternal bonding & protective behavior)
2. IVs with glucose water during labor which can lead to complications in the newborn like perceived excessive weight loss, hypoglycemia, thus creating “mommy guilt” from feeling as if she is unable to sustain her own baby’s survival due to perceived inadequate milk supply and subsequent breastfeeding difficulty when baby is inevitably given supplemental feedings
3. Avoid epidural which can cause breastfeeding difficulties in the newborn and may be associated with mood problems (the anesthesia fentanyl in the epidural is derived from cocaine)
4. Avoid episiotomy which can lead to excessive blood loss and fatigue as well as significant pain leading to use of pain medications
5. Avoid restrictive dieting before / after childbirth which can cause preterm labor (not having enough calories and protein leads to low albumin and high blood pressure), low blood sugar and lack of energy
6. Avoid epinephrine, which is often necessary in labor because of fetal distress or maternal distress (trouble breathing, low blood pressure) which are side effects in both mom and baby from pitocin or other augmentation as well as epidurals. Epinephrine is synthetic adrenaline and has been linked to mental disturbances.

B. Post-partum period:
1. FOR MANY WEEKS MOMS WILL NEED: someone to help with meals, chores, child care, etc. Without that, women ARE FAR MORE LIKELY to feel “symptoms” of depression, anxiety, etc.
2. MOMS WILL NEED someone to help with breastfeeding if they are inexperienced or have problems. They can contact a La Leche League Leader or an IBCLC. Loss of breastfeeding is sometimes associated with PPD due to additional hormonal changes in moms, while breastfeeding itself is thought to ease PPD due to numerous factors.
3. MOMS (and families) WILL FEEL BETTER if they cosleep because they will be well-rested and breastfeeding will be easier. For safety tips on cosleeping moms can use common sense or write to for more info. Contrary to campaigns by the Crib Manufacturers SIDS is actually more common in cribs.

III. Alternatives to Drugs:

1. Screen for underlying medical conditions such as Thyroid disorders, anemia, etc. and treat those as safely as is possible. Thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism (or both – postpartum thyroiditis) are quite common and can cause depression or anxiety. Often the first sign of hypoglycemia is depression which can be handled by eating often – 6 small meals per day helps keep the blood sugar level normal.
2. Omega 3 Supplements (From Fish Oil, Flaxseed, etc.)
3. Exercise (although initially excessive exercise will not help a woman, after childbirth it is necessary to rest in order to recover, and not lose too much blood) Medication shown to cause relapse, exercise MORE effective than antidepressant drugs
4. Some people feel that counseling is effective
5. Some people find alternative treatments effective, for example: chiropractic, homeopathy (even for PSYCHOSIS), accupuncture, energy work, etc.
6. MOMS can FIND A SUPPORT GROUP or helpful PERSON but NOT one that will push them to use drugs.

IV. Alternative Ways to Support American Families:
If the government really wants to help moms, why not educate on these common sense strategies, push for better maternity leave allowances, improve obstetric cooperation with midwifery, or promote paternity leave or leave for grandparents who can help new mothers during their time of need?

V. The Bill Violates Basic American Principles and Rights:
Mothers want time in PEACE and PRIVACY to be with their new babies to bond. They DO NOT need to be dragged off to an invasive and dangerous screening for mental problems. The power of suggestion alone is enough to scare a significant amount of moms and this invasion of privacy goes far beyond anything EVER imposed on the U.S. Public.

Furthermore, similar programs like Teen Screen have been a total failure with an 84% or higher misdiagnosis rate. The vast majority of these misdiagnosed students were referred to mental health practitioners and put on drugs.

Additional Critiques of the Bill

There is no language in the bill that protects thousands of mothers being erroneously screened and drugged with antidepressants that medical studies show cause birth defects and withdrawal symptoms, devastating families and driving up health care costs to treat these iatrogenic-caused conditions.

The bill seeks more appropriations to the National Institutes of Health to research postpartum depression but doesn’t specify how the funds are to be used. For example, during the past 3 years, NIMH has already spent more than $10 million on 38 studies of PPD, yet the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine lists no grants on its website for such research.

There is no language about the diverse medical opinion and studies about “post partum depression” and whether it exists as a mental disability or as a physical condition that can be treated by normal medical or alternative means.

While the bill promotes more research into the condition, it doesn’t provide safeguards about this research and the effects of biological agents on the fetus–with studies suggesting that antidepressants may exert an impact on developmental processes of the embryo, and cause higher rates of premature delivery, low birth weight, admissions to intensive care units, and poor neonatal adaptation, including respiratory and feeding difficulties in infants.

The way in which the bill is currently worded could lead to thousands of suits as hundreds have already been filed concerning antidepressant use during pregnancy that has resulted in infants being born with a life-threatening lung disorder, PPHN and that between 10% and 20% of infants born with PPHN end up dying, even when they receive treatment.