Is it dangerous to take an SSRI while pregnant?
  • Mon, 06/04/2012 - 3:13pm


A large number of women suffering from depression while pregnant take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Zoloft, Celexa, and Paxil to treat their condition. However, a new study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology suggests that taking the medication during pregnancy may harm the baby.

The study looked at 228,876 women who gave birth between 1995 and 2007. About 10 percent of those women were prescribed SSRIs before becoming pregnant. About 11 percent of that number continued taking the antidepressant while pregnant.

Babies born to mothers who continued taking the antidepressant through the third trimester faced a fivefold risk of having seizures when born. Researchers point out that those babies suffered no permanent damage from those small seizures.

Babies born to mothers who continued taking the antidepressant through the trimester doubled their risk of delivering premature newborns, or preemies. According to the American Pregnancy Association, preemies face any number of complications, including lung problems, pneumonia, anemia, and infection, among others.

According to the study, the risk for going into labor doubled for each prescription filled even when other health factors – including smoking – were taken into consideration.

Though taking SSRIs during pregnancy increases a baby’s risk of seizures, premature birth, and birth defects, as reported earlier on this site, a woman should always speak with her healthcare provider before discontinuing taking any medication.


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