Assessing Maternal Mental Health w Drugs that Cause Birth Defects

Holy Hormones Honey!  An article appeared in MedicalXpress this week, entitled: More mental health provision needed for mothers during pregnancy and after birth

More research is needed to improve the identification and treatment of women with perinatal mental health issues, according to a new editorial co-authored by Professor Susan Ayers, the lead of the Centre for Maternal and Child Health Research at City University London.

Mental health problems can arise in pregnancy or after birth and most commonly consist of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a difficult birth and stress-related conditions such as adjustment disorder. Severe postnatal mental illness, such as puerperal psychosis, is less common, but is one of the leading indirect causes of maternal death. Source

Doesn’t the left hand know what the right hand is doing? One one hand women need more assessment and care for perinatal mental health issues – but the solution – prescribed anti-depressants come with a risk of birth defects. Those of us concerned with women’s mental health issues have been following this topic for years. Anti-psychotics that are interfering with serotonin levels and altering neural pathways will affect the brain…. the motherboard and may indeed create more risk to the baby.

We just posted an article about synthetic hormones altering the brain structure. Do we know the effects of anti-depressants and birth control use combined?

There are so many unknowns with medicines – especially the epigenetic affect – meaning the what effects will these meds will have on future generations?

Women are getting more and more depressed. PERIOD. We do know the epigenetic affect of that. Our diets have been devoid of essential micronutrients with the advent of microwaves and foods wrapped in plastic and then “zapped.” That sets off a chemical firestorm that  cannot be seen, smelled or felt. But it is there.

Over 80,000 chemicals have been “invented” and “introduced” to our pristine environment since WWII. we have been exposed to all of them. Even though some of have banned – their remnants remain in the natural life cycle of air (atmosphere), soil, water and then evaporate back to air again.  So we have heavy metals and toxins in the tissues of our body. We are a like an air filter… we inhale and ingest toxins everyday. They get into our lungs, kidneys and liver.

Toxins are a dirty little secret that we do not even consider in our health assessments.  A heavy toxic burden will keep the body from functioning optimally. Lack of micronutrients, will only add to that body burden. Yes, the brain shuts down – the emotional response to that is ‘depression,’ anxiety, fatigue. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has been linked to heavy metal toxicity.

What are our choices?

We either get smart and do the research – seriously detox and build up our nutritional reserves before pregnancy (I have two products on my blog that I highly recommend)  – or we become assessed, diagnosed and prescribed drugs that may harm our infant.

Can’t women do anything without being monitored, medicalized and drugged?


Antidepressants linked with risk of birth defects

Medical News Today

In recent years, numerous studies have reported that there may be a link between maternal use of a class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and greater risk of birth defects. Now, a new study provides further evidence of this association.

The study reveals that women who used certain selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in early pregnancy were more likely to have offspring with heart

Researchers linked use of the SSRIs paroxetine and fluoxetine in early pregnancy with greater risk of birth defects, but no such association was found with maternal use of other SSRIs

Researchers linked use of the SSRIs paroxetine and fluoxetine in early pregnancy with greater risk of birth defects, but no such association was found with maternal use of other SSRIs

problems and abnormal brain and skull formation, among other birth defects.

Study co-author Jennita Reefhuis, of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and colleagues publish their findings in The BMJ.

The team notes, however, that if the link between SSRI use in pregnancy and birth defects proves causal, the increase in absolute risks for such conditions are low, though they call for further research on the issue.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, around 13% of pregnant women and new mothers experience depression. While some of these women find talking therapy alone to be an effective treatment, others may require antidepressant medication, with SSRIs being one of the most common forms.

However, while some studies claim maternal SSRI use is safe, others have associated it with greater risk of birth defects, raising concerns among clinicians and mothers-to-be.

“SSRIs are increasingly used by women of reproductive age and during pregnancy, but the inconsistent reports have limited opportunities for clinicians to carefully evaluate the risk compared with benefit of specific SSRIs for a given patient during pregnancy,” say Reefhuis and colleagues.

Maternal use of paroxetine, fluoxetine may increase risk of birth defects

To get a better estimate of the link between maternal SSRI use and birth defects, the team analyzed data from the US National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS), including 17,952 mothers of infants with birth defects and 9,857 mothers of infants without birth defects. Infants were born between 1997 and 2009.

SSRI use among the mothers was assessed via medical questionnaire. The team recorded use of the following SSRIs among the women from 1 month before conception up until the third month of pregnancy: citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil) or sertraline (Zoloft).

The researchers excluded any mothers with pre-existing diabetes and mothers who were taking non-SSRI antidepressants.

The results of the analysis revealed that maternal use of the SSRI paroxetine was associated with five birth defects, including heart defects, such as right ventricular outflow tract obstruction, and anencephaly – abnormal brain and skull formation. Fluoxetine use in early pregnancy was linked to greater risk of heart wall defects and craniosynostosis – abnormal skull shape.

Read full article…


Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.

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