Anti-Depressant Use During Pregnancy Linked with Pre-Term Labor and Delayed Head Growth

May 16, 2012

Babies of mothers who took anti-depressants during pregnancy are at increased risk for preterm birth and have delayed head growth, according to new research published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

The study looked at 70,696 pregnant women with maternal depression—some taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and some who went untreated. Each trimester of their pregnancies was monitored with fetal ultrasonography.

In addition, an earlier study conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration showed that infants born to mothers who took SSRIs after the 20th week of pregnancy were six times more likely to have persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN) than infants born to mothers who did not take antidepressants during pregnancy.

Due to the similar way SSRIs interact with our brains, the entire class of drugs has been linked to instances of birth defects. Specific products include: Celexa® (citalopram), Lexapro® (escitalopram), Luvox® (fluvoxamine), Paxil® (paroxetine), Prozac® (fluoxetine), Symbyax® (olanzapine/fluoxetine), and Zoloft® (sertraline).

The Antidepressant Drug Injury Lawyers at Ferrer, Poirot & Wansbrough know that women face numerous decisions during their pregnancies and only want the best for their future children. Because the use of SSRIs during pregnancy has been linked to babies born with birth defects that can be severe and even life-threatening, we recommend that women who begin or continue taking an anti-depressant during pregnancy speak with their OBGYN and general practitioner about the risks of SSRI use.