Antidepressants During Pregnancy: Are They Ever Safe?


Antidepressants During Pregnancy: Are They Ever Safe?

Depending on who you ask, you’ll likely get different answers regarding whether or not it’s safe to take antidepressants during pregnancy. A good doctor will give different patients different answers, depending on their particular health needs.

According to the CDC, antidepressant use is prevalent among reproductive-aged women: 15% of women between the ages 15-44 filled prescriptions for an antidepressant between 2008 and 2013. The complex issue of whether or not they should continue taking antidepressants during pregnancy merits a nuanced, educated understanding.  

Antidepressants During Pregnancy and Potential Health Risks

Studies exploring the connection between birth defects and the use of antidepressants during pregnancy have presented mixed results to the medical community. Since their safety is inconclusive, doctors may advise patients to err on the side of caution and stop taking their medication.

Using information gathered over the course of a decade of births, a Canadian study published last year in JAMA Pediatrics concluded that SSRI use during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy is tied to an increased risk of the child being diagnosed with autism. The study cited research that associated the use of antidepressants during pregnancy with spontaneous abortion, birth defects, premature birth, and neonatal withdrawal.

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