Pregnancy & Antidepressant Medication

Pregnancy hormones can cause serious depression, but antidepressants may pose risks to a woman's unborn baby. The choice to take antidepressants during pregnancy is a personal one that women must consider carefully, weighing the risks both of the medication and of the depression itself.

  1. Safer Medications

    • According to the Mayo Clinic, the antidepressants that are considered less risky are Celexa, Prozac, Zoloft, Wellbutrin and the tricyclic antidepressants Amitriptyline and Nortriptyline.

    Risky Medications

    • According to the Mayo Clinic, antidepressants to avoid during pregnancy include Paxil and MAO inhibitors such as Phenelzine and Tranylcypromine. Paxil is associated with heart defects when taken in the first trimester, and MAOIs may cause stroke.

    Other Factors

    • Unborn babies share all medication the mother takes. The safer antidepressants listed above have not been linked to birth defects, but the fetus does feel their effects. A baby born to a mother who has been taking antidepressants may suffer withdrawal symptoms after birth, which can include irritability and sleep problems.

    Risks of Depression

    • Maternal depression and anxiety have been linked to birth difficulties and to behavior problems in children later on. Additionally, there are risks involved in going off antidepressants if the mother has been taking them; withdrawal symptoms can affect the fetus.

    Talk to Your Doctor

    • Although certain drugs are safer than others in general, your personal medical and mental health history will make a difference in choosing a drug that is best for you, or choosing to avoid them completely.

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  • Photo Credit Image by, courtesy of Daniel Lobo

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