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Antidepressants during Pregnancy Increase Risk of Birth Defects

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Antidepressants during Pregnancy Increase Risk of Birth Defects
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A new study carried out by the University of Montreal and published in the British Medical Journal shows that pregnant women taking antidepressants have a higher chance of having a baby with birth defects. The increased risk is small: 6-10% risk compared to 3-5% risk for women who don’t take the drugs, but is significant enough to warrant caution, said senior study author, Professor at the University’s Faculty of Pharmacy and well-known expert in pregnancy and depression, Anick Bérard.

Serotonin is essential during the first trimester, when the embryonic cells develop and form the baby’s organs. Anything that interferes with serotonin intake has the potential to cause defects. The study found links between antidepressants and heart, lung, and face defects and malformations. This is a critical finding in view of the fact depression is on the rise globally, and increasing numbers of pregnant women are being prescribed the drugs. Given that the effectiveness of antidepressants on mild to moderate depression is marginal, more focus should be given on non-drug alternatives, like exercise, eating healthily and speaking with a psychotherapist or councilor.
A new study carried out by the University of Montreal and published in the British Medical Journal shows that pregnant women taking antidepressants have a higher chance of having a baby with birth defects. The increased risk is small: 6-10% risk compared to 3-5% risk for women who don’t take the drugs, but is significant enough to warrant caution, said senior study author, Professor at the University’s Faculty of Pharmacy and well-known expert in pregnancy and depression, Anick Bérard.

Serotonin is essential during the first trimester, when the embryonic cells develop and form the baby’s organs. Anything that interferes with serotonin intake has the potential to cause defects. The study found links between antidepressants and heart, lung, and face defects and malformations. This is a critical finding in view of the fact depression is on the rise globally, and increasing numbers of pregnant women are being prescribed the drugs. Given that the effectiveness of antidepressants on mild to moderate depression is marginal, more focus should be given on non-drug alternatives, like exercise, eating healthily and speaking with a psychotherapist or councilor.

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