Anti-depressants and Pregnancy: Seems There Is A Change In Its Practice.


It has been a long-standing practice to stop taking anti-depressants while pregnant because of the risk for the developing fetus. The logic appears sound: you don't want to subject the placenta's filtering ability to more toxic chemicals than necessary.


However, recent information has put that practice in question. A patient told me that she is allowed to take an anti-depressant during her pregnancy, based on information the physician received while attending a conference at a major northeastern university. The information was confirmed by a second physician, and my patient asked my opinion.


I told her that my reservations are with anti-depressants to begin with, and the complications that can arise from continued use when a person is not pregnant. The research supports my concerns. With pregnancy, however, I cannot make the claim since I have not seen the research. I made my concern known from an extrapolation from the results from the general population, and I am always concerned with putting a foreign substance into the body of any pregnant woman, especially during the first trimester. Fortunately, my patient is in the second trimester.


The choice to take a medication during pregnancy falls, in one major way, on the cost-benefit analysis of taking the medication versus not, and the severity of the depression may constitute the need, or possible loss of the pregnancy. This analysis can be done with the help of your primary physician (in the 5 minutes allotted to you in the consultation) or with a skilled clinical psychologist.


With the mortality rate high in the United States when compared to other first-world countries, it is important to consider limiting risk, wherever it might come from.

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