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Baby Your Baby: Antidepressants in pregnancy and breastfeeding

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Baby Your Baby: Antidepressants in pregnancy and breastfeeding (File photo: MGN Online)

(KUTV) Maternal depression can adversely affect the pregnancy and increase the risk for miscarriage, low birth weight, small-for-gestational age, hypertension, and increased depressive symptoms.

Maternal depression can adversely affect the newborn and increase the risk for poor bonding, poor feeding, and developmental delays. Pregnant and breastfeeding moms should talk to their doctor before changing or stopping any prescriptions. SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) antidepressants can be taken during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Every healthy pregnancy has a baseline of about a 3 percent to 5 percent risk for having a baby with a birth defect. There are many studies about SSRI use in pregnancy. Looking at all of those studies together, SSRI use in pregnancy is not likely to increase the risk of birth defects or other poor outcomes.

Mom may need to increase her antidepressant dose to help her remain stable during the pregnancy. For breastfeeding, antidepressants can get into the milk in small amounts but are not expected to cause problems for the baby. Abruptly stopping these medications can cause serious side effects including dizziness, vomiting, sleeping problems, nightmares, tremors, and irritability. If mom is feeling down, depressed, hopeless or has lost interest in doing things, she can talk to her doctor or the baby’s pediatrician for help.

If moms have concerns or questions about a particular medication or her situation, she can call, email, or chat and we’ll provide her with more information. Our updated local website with a link to chat is MotherToBaby.utah.gov.

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