Do antidepressants during pregnancy increase health risks for children? According to news reports, two studies seem to suggest that this may be the case. Based on reports, the potential risk to children can be immediately after birth to up to years later.


Researchers looked at a common type of antidepressant taken by mothers during pregnancy called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The Mayo Clinic says SSRIs, “ease depression by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain.” In addition, info from The Mayo Clinic explains that SSRIs work by “…block[ing] the reabsorption (reuptake) of serotonin in the brain, making more serotonin available.”


Information in the first study suggests that newborn babies are more likely to need intensive care when mothers take SSRIs during pregnancy. The research from the second study suggests that these children who need intensive care after birth are more likely to have speech and language disorders years later.


The study in which the research is based looked at the data for close to 750,000 births in Sweden from 2006 to 2012. Of those nearly 750,000 births, 2% of the babies were exposed to SSRIs.


Researchers found that close to 14% of the newborns who were exposed to SSRIs had to be treated in the NICU. On the other hand, newborns who were not exposed to SSRIs had to go to the NICU 8% of the time.


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As always, speak to your doctor about your treatment and never discontinue a treatment without speaking with your doctor first. Your doctor can answer any questions and give advice for your specific situation.


Marcus Boston is a Maryland medical malpractice attorney who helps people navigate the Maryland childbirth injury and medical malpractice process to get money for their injuries caused by the carelessness of doctors and hospitals.