Benefits and risks of antidepressant use during pregnancy examined

09/03/2015 // JusticeNewsFlash // (press release)

U.S. – A new study shows that antidepressant use during pregnancy can lead to some neonatal health problems. Medical News Today reported that the study was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, and aimed to examine the link between the use of some serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and complications with pregnancy.

The Office on Women's Health estimates that approximately 13 percent of pregnant women and new mothers experience symptoms of depression. SSRIs are among the types of medications most commonly prescribed for diagnosed cases.

The researchers found that the risk of preterm birth was lower among women with psychiatric diagnoses using SSRIs in comparison to those who did not. Very preterm birth risks among this group was also shown to be almost 50 percent.

Senior study author Dr. Alan Brown, who is a professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, is quoted as stating of the findings “To our knowledge, the association between taking antidepressants in pregnancy and a lower risk of preterm birth is a novel finding.

“Up to now, studies which were based on maternal underlying psychiatric illness had small sample sizes and reported inconsistent results.”

SSRI use was also found to be linked to an increased risk of all neonatal problems. Brown further stated of the issue “Given these divergent findings, the decision whether to prescribe these medications during pregnancy should be individualized to the mother's medical and psychiatric history.”

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