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Moms-to-be, take note: Use of antidepressants during pregnancy can affect your child’s mental health

A recent study warns that taking antidepressants before and during pregnancy may affect your child’s mental health.

fitness Updated: Sep 08, 2017 09:33 IST
Asian News International, Washington DC
Antidepressants,Pregnancy,Mental health
The risk of developing a psychiatric disorder increases in children born of mothers who continued antidepressant treatment during pregnancy.(Shutterstock)

Are you taking antidepressants during pregnancy? Researchers from the National Centre for Register-based Research at Aarhus BSS showed that there is an increased risk involved in using antidepressants. Lead researcher Xiaoqin Liu analysed 90,5,383 children born between 1998 and 2012 with the aim of exploring the possible adverse effects of the mother’s use of antidepressants during her pregnancy. Previous research showed that use of antidepressants during pregnancy increases risk of autism in the child and leads to birth defects.

They found that 32,400 children developed a psychiatric disorder later in life. Some of these children were born to mothers who were on antidepressants during their pregnancy, while other children were not exposed to medication. Liu expressed that the risk of developing a psychiatric disorder increased in mothers, who continued antidepressant treatment during pregnancy.

More specifically, the researchers divided the children into four groups depending on the mother’s use of antidepressants before and during pregnancy. The children in group one had not been exposed to antidepressants in the womb. In group two, the mothers had been taking antidepressants up until the pregnancy, but not during the pregnancy. In group three, the mothers were using antidepressants both before and during the pregnancy. Group four consisted of children, whose mothers were new users of antidepressants and had started taking the medication during the pregnancy.

The results showed that there was increase in number of children with psychiatric disorders, whose mothers had been using antidepressants during their pregnancy. Approximately twice as many children were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder in group 4 (14.5%) than in group 1 (8%). In groups 2 and 3 respectively, 11.5% and 13.6% were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder at age 16 years.

“Our research shows that medication seems to increase the risk, but that heritability also plays a part,” said another reseracher Trine Munk-Olsen. The research appears in BMJ-British Medical Journal.

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First Published: Sep 08, 2017 09:32 IST