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Study links antidepressants to premature birth

According to a story on Medical Xpress, a study shows that the use of antidepressants may put women at higher risk of giving birth prematurely. But depression itself doesn’t appear to be a risk factor.

The results, reported May 25 online in the journal Epidemiology, found that taking antidepressants during pregnancy significantly increased risk of what is called a late preterm birth. According to Medical Xpress, late preterm birth is defined as at least 34 weeks after gestation but before 37 weeks.

A number of previous studies have linked the use of antidepressants classified as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors by pregnant women with birth defects in their babies, including potentially dangerous heart and lung malformations.

SSRIs include Prozac and Zoloft.

The report quotes researcher Kimberly Yonkers — Yale professor of psychiatry and of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences — as saying that several previous studies suggested depression itself might lead to premature birth.

Her team studied almost 3,000 pregnant women, including those who were diagnosed as depressed during their pregnancy. After controlling for numerous variables such as health history, age, drug use, and socio-economic status, researchers found no association between depression and premature birth. But they found a significant risk of preterm birth among women who were taking anti-depressants.

Yonkers is quoted as saying: “Women did not ask to be depressed and yet they worry that their depression may affect their baby. This study tells them they should not worry that they are somehow compromising their pregnancy because they are depressed. And when considering whether to take medication for depression, women should understand that the risk of preterm birth is only one of many factors they should weigh.”

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with an SSRI lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries.

See the article here: