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Two Studies Look at Antidepressants and Pregnancy

As many as 1 in 10 women will go through depression at some point during pregnancy or after the birth of their baby. Although expectant mothers should avoid some medications whenever possible, stopping or avoiding depression treatment during pregnancy can come with its own serious risks.

Now, two separate but similar studies report that the overall risk for most types of birth defects is low when pregnant women take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) - the most common kind of antidepressant medication used to treat depression in the United States.

And although certain individual antidepressants may significantly increase the risk of specific birth defects, the two huge studies report that the actual increased risk for any of the individual serious defects is still very low (less than 1%).

Together, the studies looked at a combined 19,471 newborns with birth defects and 9,952 babies with no defects - far more cases than past studies - who were born to mothers who'd taken antidepressants in the months prior to conceiving or during the first trimester.

One study was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities and the University of British Columbia. The other comes from Boston University, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, and the Harvard School of Public Health.
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