Antidepressants during pregnancy pose a dilemma for some mothers-to-be
A new study from Finland has found a link between the consumption of antidepressants during pregnancy with an increased risk of the baby developing speech and language difficulties.
The extensive 14-year study looked at more than 56,000 children born in Finland between 1996 and 2010 and following them up over the period. They looked at women who suffered from depression throughout their full term, with some taking antidepressant medication and others not.
They found those women who took medicated their depression with antidepressants a least twice during their pregnancy were 37 percent more likely to have a child with a speech or language disorder. This was compared to women who suffered from depression but did not take antidepressants.
The study brings up a harsh consequence for those who feel need support during their pregnancy. Those experiencing wide ranges of depression from mild depression to suicidal thoughts are worried about the harm it could do to their baby. In extreme cases, the study authors say that its a decision that needs to be made carefully as it could cause the baby more harm than good going off antidepressants than staying on them.
The most commonly prescribed antidepressant during pregnancy are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These work by altering the levels of serotonin in the body. According to the study, children who are affected by SSRIs while in the womb are diagnosed with speech or language disorders, on average, around 4 years old. At the moment it unknown how SSRIs affect the baby during pregnancy but it’s believed they somehow affect the developing brain.
The study shows the importance of having a thorough conversation between mother and healthcare expert when considering antidepressants. However, lead study co-author Dr. Alan Brown, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center stated “But I don’t think it should be the sole factor,” as there may be other factors to take into consideration when making the decision.
Details of the study will be published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.