New Study May Ease Concerns Over Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy

A new study has found that taking antidepressants during pregnancy may not be as harmful as previously thought. The study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, looked at over 145,000 women and their children in the U.S. for up to 14 years. While there had been some concern previously that pregnant women taking antidepressants may cause behavioral or cognitive neurodevelopment issues for their children, this study found otherwise. The study indicated that women who took antidepressants did not have an increased risk of miscarriage or preterm birth when compared to those who did not take antidepressants.

"Results of previous studies on this topic have presented conflicting results. Due to our large population size and careful study design, we believe that our study offers clarity that could help patients and providers make treatment decisions in pregnancy," said study author Elizabeth Suarez, an instructor at the Center for Pharmacoepidemiology and Treatment Sciences at the Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research. While the decision to take medication during pregnancy should always be made with the advice of a healthcare professional, this study provides some reassurance that the risks may not be as great as previously thought.

What to know about mental health and pregnancy

According to CNN, past studies that have raised concerns about links between antidepressants and birth issues are being questioned because they neglected other factors that likely contributed to issues with children. Other factors that can cause developmental concerns in children include obesity and other health conditions, environmental toxins, inflammation, and maternal stress. Additionally, women who are taking antidepressants and still experiencing side effects of depression are more likely to engage in behaviors that may affect the development of their child, including skipping meals or missing prenatal doctor visits.

It is important to take care of your physical and mental health while pregnant. If you are experiencing depression, talk to your doctor about treatment options. Pregnancy can be a wonderful time, but it can also be a time of great stress and anxiety. For some women, these feelings may be so strong that they develop a mental illness. Many women experience some form of anxiety or depression during pregnancy. For some women, these feelings are so strong that they can develop a mental illness or trigger a preexisting mental illness (via Better Health Channel). If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed during pregnancy, it is important to seek help from your doctor or a mental health professional.