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Study Claims Taking Antidepressants during Pregnancy Carries Risks

Posted on November 21, 2012

A new scientific review is claiming that women who take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) while pregnant may have a greater risk of pregnancy complications. Those complications can include birth defects, miscarriage, and pre-term birth, as well as more long-term problems such as autism.

While some in the mental health field have panned the study, saying it overstates the risks and understates the benefits of SSRI use during pregnancy, the review’s co-author thinks that there is “substantial” evidence that antidepressants can increase the risk of birth complications.

The study’s co-author, Dr. Adam Urato, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at MetoWest Medical Center in Massachusetts, told The Huffington Post, “The data is concerning, and it’s growing as we do more studies.”

Urato says that while other mental health experts have argued that pregnant women who take antidepressants are less likely to experience complications like low birth weight and pre-term births, his analysis of scientific studies shows consistently high rates of pre-term births among women who have taken SSRI’s during pregnancy.

The authors of the review noted some studies have shown that Paxil may increase the risk for congenital heart defects in infants. They also pointed out that a 2011 study from Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program of Northern California found a “two-fold increased risk of autism spectrum disorders associated with maternal treatment with SSRI antidepressants during the pregnancy.”

While the study does not suggest that severely depressed pregnant women should stop taking SSRI’s, the authors did say that those with mild-to-moderate depression might benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy, as opposed to taking antidepressant medication.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft, and Lexapro are the most popular SSRI’s prescribed in the United States.

Do you believe you suffered a birth complication due to SSRI use during pregnancy? When you don’t know where to turn, a Florida birth injury lawyer at Farah & Farah is here to help you. If you believe you have a case, call us at (800) 533-3555 for a free, no-obligation consultation.