SSRI’s for Pregnant Women have more Risks than Benefits

Holy Hormones Honey! Why would pregnant women be prescribed antidepressants during in the first place? Elevated progesterone levels to maintain pregnancy also increase the stability of women’s moods.

Be that as it may – most anxiety, depression and mood swings post-pregnancy are due to hormone imbalance – because of the decrease in progesterone.  During pregnancy, progesterone serum levels can increase 400 %.  This is significant. Most women need natural progesterone supplementation, a healthy diet and exercise to maintain their hormone imbalance.  Women who have gone through a pregnancy also need nutritional support to replace all of the essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids giving from our bodies to the developing fetus.  It is imperative that those are replaced… (And do not be fooled by synthetic prenatal vitamins – they are not absorbed by your body.)

Study of antidepressants in pregnant women finds more risks than benefits

CBS News
November 1, 2012
By Ryan Jaslow

Commonly-prescribed SSRI antidepressants should be given to pregnant women with “great caution” because the drugs could raise risk for miscarriage, premature birth and health problems in both mom and a newborn baby, a new study concludes.

For the study, published in the Oct. 31 issue of Human Reproduction, researchers from several Boston-area hospitals reviewed previously published studies that examined women with depression who took antidepressants while pregnant.

“There are three main points that stand out from our review of the scientific studies on this topic,” study author Dr. Adam Urato, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at MetroWest Medical Center and a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Tufts Medical Center, said in a press release. “First, there is clear and concerning evidence of risk with the use of the SSRI antidepressants by pregnant women, evidence that these drugs lead to worsened pregnancy outcomes. Second, there is no evidence of benefit, no evidence that these drugs lead to better outcomes for moms and babies. And third, we feel strongly that patients, obstetrical providers, and the public need to be fully aware of this information.”

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are a popular type of antidepressants that block the reuptake of a brain chemical serotonin, which affects mood and emotional response. Such drugs include Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and Lexapro.

According to the researchers, antidepressant use has increased 400 percent over the past 20 years, making the drugs the most commonly prescribed medication in the U.S. for people between 18 and 44 years of age — the childbearing age range for most women.

Why antidepressants are widely prescribed

The researchers found in their review that many studies showed SSRIs were no more effective, or slightly more effective, than placebo pills for treating depression in pregnant women. Other evidence suggested SSRIs may make it more difficult to get pregnant for women taking fertility treatments.

They review also found evidence of health risks for pregnant women taking antidepressants including an increase in miscarriage and two potentially dangerous conditions, pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia, especially if use extends beyond the first trimester.

Premature birth was the “most pressing” obstetrical complication in more than 30 studies researchers reviewed. Urato said, “This is a significant finding because we know that babies born before 37 weeks are at risk for many short and long-term health problems.”


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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.