Mothers-to-be please take an important note! According to a new study Infants who are exposed to antidepressants in the womb are likely to have lower birth weight and gestational length.
The findings of the study showed that babies exposed to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) — commonly prescribed antidepressants — during two or more trimesters weighed 205g less than infants whose mothers were not exposed to any anti-depressants during pregnancy.
In addition, the birth of such babies would, on an average, take place 4.9 days earlier.
However, “the biological mechanisms by which long-term SSRIs exposure may affect birth weight remains unknown,” said Katerina Nezvalova-Henriksen from University of Oslo in Norway.
The causes for women taking SSRIs included not only depression and anxiety but also other neuropsychiatric disorders. “Severe depression, anxiety or depression not responding to non-pharmacological therapy may negatively affect the course of pregnancy and the pre and post-partum period. The risks and benefits of SSRI therapy should, therefore, be carefully evaluated in each pregnancy case,” Nezvalova-Henriksen explained.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, the team included 27,756 siblings in the study, 194 of which were prenatally exposed to SSRIs. They had measured the effect of SSRIs and maternal depression on birth weight and gestational length. By applying the sibling design, the researchers were able to address the unmeasurable and unknown family-level differences that may have been a source of bias.
However, the researchers also divided 7450 mothers into two groups — one who used SSRIs during pregnancy and the other that did not use any antidepressants.