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For the record

"Antidepressants 'could be risk to unborn babies'" Image

"Antidepressants 'could be risk to unborn babies'"

An article on the BBC website on 24th June stated ‘Antidepressants 'could be risk to unborn babies'' and set out the evidence that taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants while pregnant increases the risk of the child being born with a heart defect.

Professor Carmine Pariante, Professor in Biological Psychiatry and Head of the Sections of Perinatal Psychiatry & Stress, Psychiatry and Immunology, Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, put this risk into context:

“There are real life consequences for the mother and the baby if antidepressants are not taken. Depression during pregnancy may lead to increased smoking and drinking by the mother, which have documented effects on the health of the foetus. Moreover, depression itself is a risk factor for premature delivery, low birth weight, and increased likelihood of depression for the child in later life.

“It is also very difficult to separate the effect of anti-depressants from the effect of depression on the health of the baby and mother – as it impossible to do a randomised controlled trial. Choosing to take or not take anti-depressants during pregnancy is a decision made by a woman and her doctor, depending on what antidepressants she takes – the risk of cardiovascular malformations only applies to some – and how mild or severe the depression is.”

Document type: For The Record

Published: 25 June 2013

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