Safety Concerns with Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy

A new study published in the journal Human Reproduction is challenging prior practice that it is safe for pregnant women who suffer from depression to take antidepressants

The study showed that the opposite is true and study experts are advocating against women taking antidepressants. If the depression is severe, however, the benefits might outweigh the risks, but medical consult with psychiatrist or physician is recommended. 

There was clear and consistent evidence of risk with the use of these drugs by pregnant women with ranging complications. Such complications include miscarriage, preterm birth, newborn behavioral syndrome, as well as potential long-term effects. 

In 2009, American Psychiatric Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued a joint report to address the concerns about the risks of antidepressants on the health of pregnant women and their babies. They found about 15%-30% of pregnant women taking antidepressants have babies with neurobehavioral problems such as irritability or risk for seizures. Another concern raised was the risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension, but more studies are needed in this area. 

Overall, the study authors concluded that other treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy are as good or better than SSRIs for those with mild-to-moderate depression. Moreover, each woman should be evaluated by a psychiatrist or trained professional to determine if antidepressants are the best treatment option.

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