The dangers and health risks of the affects antidepressants have on unborn children have been revealed in studies time and again.
The latest study has found that babies exposed to SSRI antidepressants in the womb are more likely to exhibit reduced head growth at birth. Use of SSRI antidepressants also appeared to be associated with a higher risk of preterm birth.
According to a report from HealthDay News, the study drew on birth outcomes in nearly 7700 pregnant women. Of these, 91 percent had no or very mild symptoms of depression; about seven percent had symptoms of depression but did not take SSRIs; and just over one percent were depressed and used SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy. And in mothers with untreated depression, the babies had smaller growth in both the body and head, the investigators found. The women who used SSRIs tended to have infants with smaller heads but not smaller bodies, the study found.
“We don’t know what this means for the long-term development of these children,” lead researcher El Marroun stated.
There is evidence that psychological treatments for depression can be used during pregnancy, or earlier for women who plan their pregnancies, according to O’Hara, a professor of psychology at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, “Although some depressed pregnant women will need antidepressants, the majority do not require the medication if they are receiving psychological care, such as interpersonal psychotherapy or behavioral therapy.”
The report was published in the March 5 online edition of the Archives of General Psychiatry.