Study Reveals New Risk of Using Antidepressants During Pregnancy

If you have depression during pregnancy, you may be faced with making some tough decisions about continuing medication during those nine months. 

On one hand, using medication to treat your very real medical condition is a necessity and may help both you and your baby stay healthy. But on the other, not all antidepressants are the same and they all affect both mothers and developing babies differently. 

It's hard to know the full effect of medications used during pregnancy, simply because it's unethical to study pregnant women, so there's still a lot we don't know. What we do know, however, is that letting depression go untreated during pregnancy can be very, very dangerous. Untreated depression is linked to complications in both mom and baby, including premature birth, low birth weight, and postpartum mental health disorders.

{ MORE: What You Need to Know About Pregnancy and PTSD }

 

So what does all the mean? It means that right now, doctors try their best to balance a mother's need for medication with the lowest risk to the baby. It also means that we are continually expanding our knowledge of the ways that antidepressants work and can affect babies. 

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Image via Flickr/ Alick Sung

And unfortunately, that means sometimes acknowledging risks to antidepressants. A new study in JAMA Psychiatry found that using a specific type of antidepressants, called Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRIs, one of the most common types of medications used against depression), may cause language and or speech delays in the babies later in life. 

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The study compared pregnant mothers with depression who had purchased two prescriptions for SSRIs as compared to mothers with depression who did not have prescriptions for SSRIs and found that the risk of speech and language delay disorders was “significantly” increased in the group that used medication. 

To give you an idea of how long this study went on, the researchers looked at over 5600 children from birth up to 14 years, so they got a really good grasp on the scope of the language and speech delays that the children displayed. 

The final conclusion from the researchers was that SSRI exposure during pregnancy is significantly linked to the risk of speech and language disorders, so it's important for more research to be done so that women with depression can get the help they need with the least amount of risk to their babies. Again, talking about studies like this is not to shame women who have to have medication during their pregnancies, but to help women and their doctors make the best-informed decision they can make. 

Did you suffer from depression during pregnancy? 

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Study Reveals New Risk of Using Antidepressants During Pregnancy

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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