A recent study has revealed that pregnant women who take antidepressants while they are pregnant have a higher risk of giving birth to kids who will suffer from speech and language disorders later in life.
A team of experts from Finland has conducted an extensive 14-year research to find out the effects of antidepressants on pregnant women. As it turned out, children born to participants who took those pills more than once while they were pregnant had a 37 higher risk of developing language or speech disorders, compared with the kids born to patients who didn’t take antidepressants.
Worse, these newborns had a 63 percent higher risk of developing such health disorders compared to those born to participants who didn’t suffer from depression and didn’t take any medication. Based on these statistics, experts think that women and their doctors should thoroughly consider whether they actually need antidepressants during pregnancy.
Reviewing these facts, doctors should try a different approach to help depressed pregnant women, one that won’t harm the newborn. According to Dr. Alan Brown, Columbia University Medical Center psychiatry professor, antidepressants are not the only factor influencing pregnancy risks.
For instance, before prescribing such medication, it is essential that doctors should analyze the degree of the depression. In case a woman has many suicidal thoughts, then she needs constant attention besides antidepressants.
The study involved 56,000 children born in 1996, and during this time, they were monitored by the scientists to see if they developed any language or speech disorders. In addition, the team accounted for the geographical area and mother’s health status as well.
Using this data, they combined it with the antidepressant use before and during the pregnancy to calculate the exact risks.
Around 15,600 or 28 percent of the children were born to depressed women who took Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) during pregnancy. Furthermore, 17 percent or 9,500 children were born to depressed women who didn’t use SSRIs while they were pregnant.
SSRI is often prescribed in order to control the serotonin levels. This chemical affects our mood, but it also plays a crucial role in the cell development of a fetus’ brain.
The other 55 percent or around 31,200 children were born to participants who didn’t have depression. According to the results, newborns with mothers who used SSRIs were more likely to develop language or speech disorders compared to the other two groups.
Image Source: Huffpost