Antidepressant Use Pregnancy Linked Preterm Birth

New Study Suggests Preterm Birth and Antidepressants May Be Linked

Preterm birth is a huge problem throughout the world, putting the life of the baby on the line and leading to long term development consequences. A new systematic review of published literature by researchers suggests that antidepressants can actually increase the risk of preterm birth, strengthening the conclusion that unless an expectant mother can’t manage without them, antidepressants should be strongly avoided.

A Closer Look

With rates of antidepressant use increasing worldwide, learning more about the potential dangers involved is an absolute must, so researchers looked at any published studies that involved women who had, while pregnant, taken antidepressants and combined information on the gestational ages of the fetuses when they were born. These parameters narrowed the studies down to 41 total.

Conclusions

Researchers discovered that women who took antidepressants during the third trimester seemed to have the highest rates of preterm birth. They also noted that the preterm birth didn’t seem to be a result of the depression itself, but the medication involved. The team did note that because the issues surrounding maternal depression and its treatment during pregnancy were so complex, many factors had to be considered by both the mother and the provider in order to make the right decisions. If there are alternatives like psychotherapy available, though, they must be considered to help protect the growing fetus.

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