What are the Effects of Antidepressant Use during Pregnancy?

Antidepressant Pregnancy Drug Picture - LocateADoc.comDepression is a common disorder in pregnant women. Once diagnosed, it is managed promptly and with careful consideration of the effects of medications on the pregnancy. There are prescription medications called antidepressants that are used to treat this condition; however, these are not recommended for everybody.
Extra caution must be observed with pregnant women, because everything they ingest ultimately affects the pregnancy one way or the other. If you are pregnant, avoid taking antidepressant medications without consultations and prescriptions from a doctor, in order to avoid complications. 

What is the cause of depression during pregnancy?

While the cause of depressive behavior of a pregnant woman is unclear, there are factors that are said to escalate the risk of suffering from this condition. Here are some of these factors:
  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy
  • Unplanned pregnancy
  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Dramatic lifestyle changes due to pregnancy
  • Poor antenatal care and low social support
  • History of depression

What are antidepressants?

Antidepressants are medications used for the treatment of major depressive disorder and other conditions such as mood disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and sleep disorders. The following are various types of antidepressants:
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitors (SARIs)
  • Norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (NRIs)
  • Norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs)
  • TAAR1 agonists
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
  • Tetracyclic antidepressants (TeCAs)
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

What happens when you take antidepressants during pregnancy?

Leaving depression untreated can impose negative effects on you and your baby; however, taking antidepressants also has its fair share of side effects. The best approach is to consult a medical doctor. There are various factors that will be taken into account including your health and the health of your baby, the severity of your depression and the well-being of your entire family. Nevertheless, you must be informed of the risks to the baby that comes with taking antidepressants during pregnancy. These include:
  • Birth defects
  • Preterm birth ( birth before 37 weeks of gestation)
  • Breathing problems
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Heart defects
  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension in the newborn (PPHN)
  • Miscarriage
If you have been prescribed some antidepressant medications, do not stop unless instructed by the doctor for this may cause withdrawal symptoms that can affect both you and the baby. The doctor will determine if you are fit to stop or not. It is important to note that the effects of taking antidepressants during pregnancy on the behavior and development of your child are still unclear and is being studied. 
Learn more about depression including symptoms, causes, treatment options, types of doctors and doctor reviews in our Depression Resource Guide.


Photo By Steve Snodgrass (Cropped version of [1]) [CC-BY-2.0 http://goo.gl/nV1ytw]