At-home Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation for Depression in Pregnancy

Women’s College Hospital, Sunnybrook Health Sciences and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health are conducting a research study of Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) for depression in pregnancy.  

a pregnant woman sits in a bed with one hand resting on her belly and one holding a tablet

Depression in pregnancy is common  – it affects about 1 in 10 pregnant people. Current options for treating depression are not ideal for everyone:

  • Talk therapy  – Can take weeks to months to improve symptoms or might not work on its own
  • Medication –  Can work quickly, but people do not always wish to take them in pregnancy

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-drug treatment for depression.

  • It is a small and easy-to-use device that patients can self-apply at home
  • Over 3 weeks of treatment, it has been shown to improve depression symptoms in a lasting way
  • In this research study:
    • You will be able to self-apply the treatment at-home, and a research staff member will be with you over secure video-visit during each treatment.
    • You will receive follow-up for the rest of your pregnancy and until 1 year postpartum.
    • Tokens of appreciation are given for completing research surveys (up to $190 total)

Here is a video of how the at-home tDCS stimulation works.

a woman wearing electronic sensors on her head sits and works on a laptop connected to the sensors

You may be eligible to participate in the clinical trial if you:

  • ≥18 years of age
  • 12-32 weeks pregnant
  • Have symptoms of depression that are moderate in severity
  • Do not wish to take antidepressant medication to treat the depression symptoms

This study is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

For general information about the trial, or if you are interested in participating, please contact us at the main trial site at Women’s College Hospital:

Hailey Katzman
Research Coordinator

*For patients receiving obstetrical care at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, you may directly contact