Taking anti-depressants during pregnancy do more harm than good according to a new Canadian study.
The study conducted by researchers revealed that babies born to mothers who take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRI antidepressants have more of a likelihood of having a lower birth weight and experiencing respiratory distress. This finding is in contradiction to the belief that treating depressed mothers-to-be lessens the negative neonatal consequences of mental depression.
The researchers studied population data of 120,000 births between 1998 and 2001 and found that 14 percent of the mothers were diagnosed with depression. They followed this with the comparison of data of those mothers treated with SSRI to those who were not.
It was found that over 13 percent of the 1,451 mothers treated with SSRI had babies who stayed in the hospital longer after birth compared to only 7.8 percent of those who were not treated with the drug. In addition it was found that babies exposed to SSRI had significantly lower birth weights and gestational ages compared to those who were not.
Lead investigator Dr. Tim F. Oberlander told Reuters, "While our study may add another cautionary note to the use of SSRI medications during pregnancy, the use of antidepressants must be weighed against the risks of untreated or under treated disease ... and thus the decision should be made by an informed patient with her physician on a case-by-case basis."