Will Medication in Pregnancy Hurt My Baby? Pregnant on Antidepressants

What pills are safe during pregnancy? Image by ppdigital

What pills are safe during pregnancy? Image by ppdigital

Some women are given hormones to help establish or maintain a pregnancy, but what about other medications, specifically, what about your antidepressant? Will it hurt the baby?

If you’ve just found out you are pregnant, and are taking antidepressants or anti-psychotics, call your doctor. With some medications, you’ll need to reduce your dosage slowly, while with others you can safely stop abruptly. Don’t immediately stop taking any medication without speaking to your health and/or maternity care provider.

Mild Depression During Pregnancy? Doctors Recommend Psychotherapy

Doctors recommend counseling over medication for mild depression in pregnancy, but if depression is severe, they may suggest antidepressants. Which antidepressants are safe, and which are dangerous during pregnancy?

A 2012 study showed the drug Paxil, an SSRI, when taken during pregnancy, may be a risk for cardiac defects in babies, although the risk was 1.5% in paxil (paroxetine) users compared to 1% with other antidepressants taken during pregnancy. The slight increase in risk was enough to change Paxil’s safety profile for pregnancy to a D class. (D class medications: There is evidence of risk to fetus but doctors can prescribe the medication if potential benefits out weigh the potential risk.) Paxil’s medication insert also suggests that babies exposed to the drug may experience withdrawal effects after birth.

Additional Selective Serotonin reuptake inhibitors, known as SSRIs, most frequently given to pregnant women include Prozac (fluoxitine), Zoloft (setraline) celexa (citalopram), luvox (Fluvoxamine) and Lexapro (escitalopram). In 2012, the New England Journal of Medicine reported an association between newborn pulmonary hypertension and these medications given in the 3rd trimester. Researchers completed six studies; 3 of the studies showed the association with pulmonary hypertension, and 3 studies showed no correlation. The FDA did not update the risk level of these medications.

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Anti-Psychotics in Pregnancy

Risperdil and Abilify are anti-psychotic medications. Sometimes, doctors combine them with antidepressants to make the medications work better. Researchers noted that these drugs cause withdrawal affects in some infants when given to the mom in the 3rd trimester; the reactions gradually disappeared from the newborn. Doctors can wean the expectant mother’s dosage down or eliminate this medication entirely in the last trimester in the rare case these drugs must be given during pregnancy.

Click to Read Page Two: Maternal Depression and Medication During Pregnancy

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