Antidepressants and Pregnancy: An Annotated Bibliography

Here's the skinny:  no body know what the deal is with antidepressants and pregnancy.  There is evidence that it does something, but there just haven't been enough studies to come up with anything very conclusive.  The kicker is that there is conclusive evidence that depression in mothers will have a negative affect on their children, both in and outside the womb.  In short, you have to speak with your doctor and come up with a plan on your own.  Just so you don't go walking into your appointment blind, here are some of the articles I looked at before I made my decision.

Antidepressants: Safe During Pregnancy?:  This site by the Mayo Clinic is a very straightforward guide for making the decision on how to continue treatment.  It lays out the risks both in going off and remaining on medication, lists the medications that are considered safe and the ones to avoid.  It is a really great place to start your research.

Is it Safe To Take Antidepressant During Pregnancy?  This article at BabyCenter, discusses the major risks with SSRIs and specifically advises against Paxil.

Antidepressants and Pregnancy:  This article on a doctor's professional website, is pretty dense, but covers a lot of ground.  It includes relevant research on treatment options, drug safety characterizations, summaries of studies, and so on.  It has a ton of links to scholarly papers and research.

Can My Depression Harm My Baby While I'm Pregnant?  The other side of the coin:  This page at BabyCenter is two experts' opinions, that yes, untreated depression can be bad for your child's development, and notes studies that indicate as much.

Antidepressants and Pregnancy: What to do now:  An article by a doctor at Fox News, disputes the latests study from a British Medical Journal that SSRIs cause pulminary hypertension in newborns.  I didn't know about the study, so it was an irrelevant discussion for me, but it would be useful for someone who was wondering about these findings.

Antidepressant Use in Pregnant Women May Raise Autism Risk:  An article from CNN that reports on the very early studies that indicate that SSRIs and association between the use of SSRIs and autism.  The article goes out of its way to say that this was a preliminary study and that any changes in treatment for depression needs to be discussed carefully with a doctor.

Do Antidepressants in Pregnancy Affect Baby?  This article, from WebMD, covers studies that reveal some delay in developmental milestones for the children of women who took antidepressants while pregnant.

Antidepressants During Pregnancy Change Baby's Head Size, but So Does Depression: A Study:  CBS News reviews a study that found that the babies of women on antidepressants can have smaller heads.  While a smaller head at birth can be an indication of behavior problem and mental illness later in life, the article noes that more research needs to be done before forming any conclusions.


  1. There were studies showing that the usage of antidepressants, particularly SSRIs, during pregnancy poses a higher risk of having a child born with birth defects.

    1. Well, it is a little more complicated than that. There are studies on some medications, many of which are not exactly scientific research; more like interviews with small groups of volunteers. With many of those that have shown a increased risk, the increased risk is so minimal, that, when compared to the risks for both mother and child during a drug-free pregnancy, many mothers may be wise to continue on their medication.