Taking Antidepressants in Pregnancy May Up Birth Defects Women who take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in the very early stage of pregnancy might have a small but somewhat greater risk of having babies with some major congenital birth defects op stillbirths, compared to the women who are not taking these selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, according to the research that is done by researchers from Swansea University in the U.K.
The research evaluates data from more than 500,000 infants in Wales, Norway, and Denmark. The researchers found that the women who had been prescribed by SSRIs in the first trimester of pregnancy or three months before pregnancy were at a small but significantly greater risk of having infants with congenital anomalies, particularly severe heart defects or stillbirths compared with the women who do not take antidepressants during their pregnancy.
After doing research, Sue Jordan, who is the professor at Swansea University in Britain mentioned that “We are not saying to stop taking all the medicines, but our message is that we want our health care professionals to be very careful of this link and to take the appropriate steps and actions to ensure that women are given the right type of care before, during and after their pregnancy to reduce the risks of congenital anomalies and stillbirths through SSRIs.
The result shows that the women who did not take SSRIs, 6 in 200 pregnancies had an adverse outcome of stillbirth or a baby with a major congenital anomaly, but when SSRIs were prescribed this rose to 7 in 200. The researchers say this risk is of public health importance due to the severity of the outcome and because SSRIs are prescribed to many pregnant women.
According to Professor Helen Dolk, who led the EUROmediCAT project, added that “Women should not stop taking SSRIs without discussing with their doctor as the benefits and the risks of taking Antidepressants and alternative nonpharmacological therapies since good mental health are important for both mothers as well as for the child”.
Finally, the researchers are calling the healthcare professionals to closely review all the women who are requesting SSRI prescriptions and not just those who are planning the pregnancy. They have also suggested that health care workers figure out the pre-pregnancy care when SSRIs are prescribed and consider offering at risk, women enhanced scans to detect the serious heart defects.