The Impact of Taking Antidepressants during Pregnancy

Depression is a serious problem that affects at least one in every four women during their lifetime. It is also a concern during pregnancy. In fact, the depression prevalence rate in pregnant women ranges from 4% to 20%. The cause of such high levels of depression among this vulnerable group varies from person to person. For example, it may be hormonal imbalance affecting the brain because of physiological changes the body is undergoing. Social problems such as absentee fathers or financial constraints can contribute a lot to the issue.

The most obvious response to depressive states in the contemporary world is therapy followed by medication.pregnancymeds_apstock-1024x576 Antidepressants such as citalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine, escitalopram, sertraline, fluvoxamine and others are prescribed to both men and women. Unfortunately, when it comes to pregnant women, these drugs can lead to devastating effects on the unborn child.

One study focused on the impact of SSRIs, which are the most common types of antidepressants. Researchers from Lund University examined 750,000 newborns in Sweden. The births of these babies took place between 2006 and 2012. Only 2% of the newborns (about 15,000) suffered from exposure to SSRIs while they were in the womb. 14% percent of those 15,000 had to go to neonatal ICUs after birth because of various health complications. In contrast, only 8% of those not exposed to SSRIs went to neonatal ICUs after birth.

Another study conducted in Finland revealed shocking facts about the impact of taking antidepressants during pregnancy. The researchers looked at 56,000 kids born between 1996 and 2010. Twenty-eight percent of them suffered from exposure to SSRIs while they were in their mother’s womb. Seventeen percent of the kids were in the womb while their mothers suffered from depression, but their mothers did not take SSRIs despite their depressive state. The study revealed that speech and language impairment was 37% higher in the former group of children than in the latter one.

The studies show that antidepressants can cause health complications to newborn babies in addition to speech impairments as the kids grow. Therefore, it is critical for pregnant women to seek medical advice before taking medication for their depression. If possible, they should rely just on therapy sessions to fight their depressive state.

Pregnant women should also stay away from anticoagulant, anticonvulsants, and androgens because they act like teratogens. Teratogens are agents that harm the fetus when consumed by a pregnant woman. It goes without saying that staying away from drugs such as alcohol, marijuana and cocaine is essential because these substances are tremendously harmful to your unborn baby.