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Premature Births More Common for Pregnant Women on Antidepressants

SSRI antidepressants linked to premature birthA recent study shows that women who take antidepressants during pregnancy are more likely to deliver their babies prematurely. Many of the drugs considered in the study belong to a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs like Zoloft and Effexor.

The study was a review of 41 different papers that observed the use of antidepressants by pregnant women. The researchers said that they accounted for other potential causes of premature birth, including depression itself.

According the Centers for Disease Control, 11.6 percent of infants are born prematurely, which is before 37 weeks into pregnancy. The research found that the risk of birth before 37 weeks was 53 percent higher in women who took an antidepressant during pregnancy. Pregnant women who took an antidepressant after week 29, or in the third and final trimester, increased the risk of a preterm birth by 96 percent.

About 180,000 fetuses are exposed to an antidepressant every year. More than 10 percent of pregnant women in the U.S. feel depression during pregnancy, and about 8 percent take an antidepressant. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns SSRIs lead to heart defects in babies and health complications in newborns.

You should always consult a doctor before changing your medication. If you or someone you love has given birth to a child with birth defects after taking an antidepressant, legal remedies may be available. Contact a Lopez McHugh SSRI birth defect attorney today.