Studies give pregnant women conflicting information about SSRIs

Pregnancy is an exciting time for many Chicago women and their partners. However, women might also become overwhelmed by all of the conflicting dos and don’ts they may hear about from others or read about in magazines and books.

For example, some women are told to stay away from having any caffeine while others are told they can have small amounts of caffeine during pregnancy. Some pregnant women are told not to eat deli meat or sushi because it could be dangerous, but other women continue to eat these foods without experiencing any problems. And when it comes to medications, some doctors continue to prescribe medications for pregnant women while others might try alternative treatment methods in order to avoid the possibility of a medication error or pregnancy-related injury.

Although some drugs cause no harm to pregnant women and their unborn babies, other medications may increase the risk of injury or death. When it comes to treating pregnant women who suffer from depression, though, doctors and patients still don’t really know whether taking antidepressants is dangerous or not.

The effects and risks of taking antidepressants when pregnant has been debated for years and many studies provide conflicting information. While some researchers claim the drugs are safe, others claim the drugs can cause birth defects, miscarriages and long-term health complications or problems.

Late last year, researchers claimed that they had found significant evidence to prove that SSRIs in antidepressants are indeed dangerous for pregnant women and their babies. However, a new study is now claiming that SSRIs do not increase the risk of infant death. More than 1.5 million medical records were studied, and researchers identified almost 30,000 mothers who had taken antidepressant medications when pregnant.

After analyzing the data, researchers discovered there was little difference in pregnancy outcomes between physically healthy women who had taken SSRIs and those who did not. Roughly the same number of women delivered stillborn babies or lost their babies before their children turned 1, the study claims.

Women who are pregnant and also suffer from depression should discuss all treatment options with their doctors before starting or ending antidepressant use. Doctors also need to make sure patients understand what treatments may be best for them and their babies.

Source: CNN, “Antidepressants during pregnancy don’t raise infant death risk,” Leslie Wade, Jan. 3, 2013

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