Depression in pregnant women is not uncommon. According to this Slate.com article, depression affects more than 10 percent of all pregnant women in the U.S. In the past, many doctors prescribed pregnant women with antidepressants. Since then, the safety of antidepressants has been under much scrutiny.
When a pregnant woman has depression, it can negatively affect both herself and her unborn child. Some consequences of untreated depression include low birth weight, miscarriage, preterm delivery and increased risk of hypertension or preeclampsia.
The article declares that antidepressants are the third most prescribed medication among Americans and 8 percent of pregnant women in the U.S. currently take antidepressants. The effects of the medications known as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are highly studied in pregnant women and have created a sense of unease among doctors faced with providing treatment for depressed, pregnant patients.
Some antidepressants have been found to cause birth injuries in fetuses of pregnant women and have led to many birth injury lawsuits. These antidepressants include Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac, Celexa and more.
Recent litigations suggest risks associated with taking any of the above antidepressants while pregnant. One potential birth defect caused by these SSRI’s includes persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN) in newborns, which is a heart and lung condition where a large percentage of blood does not flow through the baby’s lungs. This can lead to higher blood pressure in the arteries and lungs, circulatory disorders, low blood oxygen levels and respiratory conditions.
Other dangerous birth injuries or side effects associated with SSRI’s include:
- Neural tube side effect (affects development of the skull and vertebrae)
- Omphalocele (affects the development of abdominal wall muscles)
- Cleft lip
- Cleft palate
- Heart side effects
- Congenital limb defects (underdeveloped limbs)
- Anal altresia (a malformed rectum)
To learn more about risks associated with antidepressants during pregnancy and read the full Slate.com article.