Depression Drugs given to Pregnant Mothers May Affect
Newborn Babies – Infants Withdraw From SSRIs
February 6th 2006
Concerns for women taking Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) while
pregnant were addressed in a new study published in the Archives of
Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. This is one of the archive journals
of the American Medical Association.
According to the researchers, infants born to mothers that took SSRIs
show signs of withdraw shortly after birth. The journal states that
“Almost one-third of 60 newborn infants whose mothers took
antidepressants during pregnancy experienced neonatal abstinence
syndrome, a type of withdrawal with symptoms that include high-pitched
crying, tremors and disturbed sleep.” The authors say that infants born
to mothers taking SSRIs while pregnant, should be monitored closely
after birth for a minimum of 48 hours.
As many as one fourth of all women will develop depression some time in
their life. The stress of becoming pregnant can worsen the condition.
This stress may increase the need for medication. The article says that
SSRIs are the most commonly used class of antidepressants, and these
drugs can cross the placenta barrier and may affect the fetus.
The researchers from Children’s Medical Center of Israel examined 120
babies born between January 1st 2002 and August 31st 2004 at the Rabin
Medical Center in Israel. Of the 120 babies, 60 of them were exposed to
SSRIs. They were assessed for two hours after birth and again at
They found that 18 of the exposed infants (30 percent) had neonatal
abstinence syndrome. They had tremors, gastrointestinal problems, an
abnormal increase in muscle tone (hypertonicity), sleep disturbances or
high-pitched cries. Eight of these children had “severe” cases of the
syndrome. None of the infants had symptoms that required treatment.
None of the 60 infants that were not exposed had the syndrome.
This concerned the authors who say this should be brought to the
attention of family physicians, psychiatrists and gynecologists.
"Because maternal depression during pregnancy also entails a risk to the
newborn, the risk-benefit ratio of continuing SSRI treatment should be
assessed." They recommend doctors prescribe the “minimum dose and
number of drugs that would be effective” for the mother’s condition.
Here is an article concerning similar subject matter:
Pregnant Women should
Keep Taking Antidepressants to Avoid Relapse of Depression - Pregnancy
Hormones Don't Protect - Study
Best Syndication Staff Writer
Books on Pregnancy
Keywords and misspellings: priatal prenatal pre-natal