Researchers at the Universite de Montreal and Ste. Justine Hospital have suggested that pregnant mothers can safely use prescribed antidepressants during their first trimester.
The suggestion comes from a study, in which Dr. Anick Berard and her team found that antidepressants have no effect on foetal development.
"This is the first study to investigate the impact of antidepressant use during the first trimester of pregnancy in mothers with psychiatric disorders," she said.
"In terms of birth malformations in this population, we found no difference between women who used antidepressants and those who did not use antidepressants during their first trimester," she added.
For the study, researchers used data from the Quebec Pregnancy Registry, established by their group, to analyse the records of 2,329 new mothers diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder and treated with antidepressants for at least 30 days before pregnancy.
Also included in the registry were women who delivered live born and stillborn children, while birth defects were considered anything from facial malformations to heart anomalies.
"The duration of antidepressant use in the first trimester of pregnancy was not associated with an increased risk of birth malformations," Berard said.
"We hope these findings help clinicians and women decide whether to continue antidepressant therapy during pregnancy," he added.
The study is published in the May edition of the British Journal of Psychiatry.