Pregnant Women Taking Some Anti Depression Drugs May Injure Children
Taking certain types of ant-depression medication while pregnant may significantly increase the risks of a child suffering birth defects or the mother suffering a tragic miscarriage or having a premature baby with all the attendant complications.
Some medical researchers have found that a popular variety of antidepressant medication, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) increase the risks of these serious problems. Doctors in the mental health field in some instances disagree, believing that the risks of the medication are lower than the new study indicates, and that the potential benefits to a depressed mother of taking the medication can outweigh the risk.
Accordingly, there is as of yet no consensus on the subject among medical professionals, but a pregnant woman should be made aware of the debate and the potential risks and be advised to engage in a detailed discussion with their doctor about the subject. Researchers who published the recent study focusing on the risks dispute the accusation, made by some, that they intended to stigmatize or attack the pregnant women who take the antidepressants.
They assert that their data linking the use of the drugs to birth defects and other problems such as the development of pulmonary hypertension in a baby, long range neurobehavioral problems, and newborn behavioral syndrome is “substantial.” While they acknowledge the need for addition research, they believe that their research to date is sufficient to trigger a need to sound an alarm.
The studies that their articles reviews were small ones and in many instances were conducted after thev fact on women who were taking the medication during pregnancy. Some of the studies were carred out on animals, but are still believed to be valuable in showing possible consequences for humans.
One doctor stated that 41 studies on the subject of the use of SSRI on depressed mothers consistently shows that women taking the medication have a higher number of premature births. While some argue that depression can also lead to complications during pregnancy, including preterm births an stillbirths, the recent review of the studies did not reveal any improved pregnancy outcomes among depressed pregnant women taking SSRI drugs.
One doctor stated that she saw a distinction between women with more severe depression, who perhaps had more of a need for the medication, and pregnant women with mild to medium depression who perhaps could benefit from alternative therapies and should therefore forego the medication to avoid the potential risks.
This seems in line with a 2009 joint report by the American Psychiatric Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that suggested that pregnant women confronting severe depression should continue taking medication under a doctor’s supervision, while those who have experienced either no pronounced symptoms of depression or only mild symptoms for at least six months should consider, in consultation with their doctor, stopping the taking of the medication or starting to taper it off before even getting pregnant.
The number of pregnant women experiencing depression from time to time is said to range between 14 percent and 23 percent. While many men also experience depression, women are 250% more likely to be prescribed and take antidepressant medication than men, for whatever reason.