Are antidepressants good or bad for pregnant women in Illinois?

It is no mystery that Joliet doctors must be incredibly careful when prescribing medication to patients. Medication errors can lead to overdoses or bad reactions that could cause adverse health effects.

Not only do doctors have an obligation to prescribe the correct medication, and in the correct dosage, but they also need to explain the risks and side effects of medications to their patients. This is especially true when it comes to prescribing medications to pregnant women who have to not only look out for their own health, but also the health of their unborn babies.

When analyzing the effects of medications such as antidepressants, recent studies have focused on expectant mothers who suffer from depression. One review of several studies reports that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can increase the risk of birth complications when women take these medications while pregnant. Still, some medical professionals state that the drugs are necessary for the health of pregnant women who struggle with depression. So, are antidepressants good or bad for pregnant women and their unborn babies?

The review, which was published in the journal Human Reproduction, states that SSRI-based drugs can increase the risk of miscarriages along with causing birth defects, pulmonary hypertension in infants, neurobehavioral issues, preterm births and other negative effects.

The study also states that taking antidepressants does not seem to improve a pregnancy outcome. Many people have thought that depression itself may lead to birth complications; therefore, taking antidepressants could potentially improve the outcome of a pregnancy.

One of the authors of the study concluded that pregnant women who suffer from severe depression should consider taking antidepressants, but women suffering from more mild forms of the illness should explore other ways of coping while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Professionals who consider the study misleading labeled the adverse effects of antidepressants as concerning, but also pointed out that the review had its pitfalls. For example, some of the studies analyzed in the review were conducted on animals and not humans. The study also did not include the risks that may come with untreated depression in women.

Source: Huffington Post, “Antidepressants During Pregnancy Carry Risks, Study Says,” Catherine Pearson, Nov. 14, 2012

  • Our firm is experienced with assisting Illinois patients who have been harmed by medical malpractice, including pregnant women who have been harmed by medication errors. To learn more about our firm and practice, please visit our Will County medical malpractice page.

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