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Antidepressants and pregnancy a bad mix?

Treatment for pregnant women battling bouts of depression is, once again, sparking contentious debate. A new survey has ignited this long-simmering question, which is again raging, surrounding the best treatment plan. The study indicates that pregnant women taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), popular forms of antidepressants, have greater risk of complications.

Expectant mothers in Pennsylvania should be aware of these possible birth injuries. These potential complications include birth defects, pre-term birth and miscarriage. However, some mental health professionals dispute these conclusions. The study, they claim, overstates these risks, while suppressing the benefits of SSRIs in treating depression of pregnant women.

The OBGYN who authored the study disagreed with its opponents for characterizing the results as an assault on pregnant women who took SSRIs to treat their depression. The doctor believes expanding awareness of scientific evidence about using these medications is important for everyone.

This new research only evaluates depressed women taking these drugs. Comparable studies have used a small number of targeted respondents, causing some experts to question the results. The new study was published in the medical journal, Human Reproduction.

The OBGYN author countered these misgivings. The doctor believes the results indicate that pregnant women using these antidepressants face potential problems. Along with birth defect and miscarriage risk, expectant mothers may increase the risk of newborn behavioral syndrome, baby pulmonary hypertension and long-term neurobehavioral issues. The study author also reminded readers to look at available and future studies to evaluate the results and become more aware of the potential increased risks.

Are you aware that some medical experts believe that depression, left untreated, by itself increases risk of pregnancy complications? How do you believe the medical profession and pregnant women should handle treatment of depression?

Source: The Huffington Post, "Antidepressants During Pregnancy Carry Risks, Study Says," Nov. 14, 2012

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