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August 2019 (Vol. 4 Issue 6)

Antidepressants during pregnancy raise risk of birth defects and autism
About the author: 

Antidepressants during pregnancy raise risk of birth defects and autism image

Taking antidepressants when you’re pregnant can cause major problems for the child. Women who take them in the first trimester increase the risk of birth defects, while taking them in the second or third trimester raises the possibility of autism.

Pregnant women are routinely prescribed an antidepressant, such as the SSRI paroxetine, to help them cope with anxiety and depression, but a new study has found they can cause major problems in the child.

Women taking the drugs in the first trimester are 23 per cent more likely to have a child with a major congenital malformation, and a 28 per cent higher risk of major cardiac malformations. The typical risks without the drugs are 3 per cent and 1 per cent respectively.

But it’s no safer taking the drugs later on in the pregnancy. Women who take them in the second and third trimesters almost double the risk of autism, and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).


References

(Sources: First trimester study: British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 2015; doi: 10.1111/bcp.12849; Second/third trimester study: JAMA Pediatrics, doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.3356)

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