Researchers looked at what effect antidepressants taken late in pregnancy have on the birth of the baby. The study included 997 infants. All of the babies' moms took antidepressants during their third trimester.Researchers found that maternal use of antidepressants late in pregnancy causes an increased risk for preterm birth and low birth weight. Researchers also found an increased risk for a low Apgar score (the health rating given to the baby right after birth), respiratory distress, convulsions and hypoglycemia for those babies who were exposed to antidepressants in the womb.
Specialists say the use of tricyclic drugs seemed to cause more problems than selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.While some of the negative health effects suffered by newborns could be the result of other diseases, researchers say in these cases a direct-drug effect is at least partly to blame, especially when the babies experienced withdrawal symptoms. They feel SSRIs should be the drug of choice if an antidepressant is needed during pregnancy.