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Doctors must weigh risks for antidepressant use in pregnancy: Part 2

As discussed in the previous post, Ohio doctors and expecting mothers must weigh the pros and cons of treating depression with antidepressant medication during pregnancy in order to make the best decision for the health of the mother and baby.

The risks of using antidepressant medications during pregnancy vary according to the type of medication used. Examples of birth defects that researchers have tentatively associated with antidepressants are malformation of limbs, heart defects, lung problems, irritability and jitters. Doctors agree that more studies need to be done to evaluate the risk of antidepressants in causing birth injuries.

High blood-pressure in the mother has also been associated with antidepressant use during pregnancy. It is, however, not advisable to stop using antidepressants during pregnancy because there may be a depression relapse or other withdrawal symptoms associated with the abrupt ending of the medication.

Currently, there are not any antidepressant medications that have been proven ultimately safe to use while pregnant and certain types of antidepressants have been shown to cause birth defects.

Deciding whether or not to continue antidepressant use during pregnancy is a conversation to be had between a patient and a doctor to weigh the risks and benefits of taking or not taking the medication.

In addition to injury to patient or the fetus, doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies may be liable for damage to the patient for mislabeled or wrongly prescribed medication, so this is a very important discussion to have and to include trusted family and advisors in the decision-making process.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Study describes pros and cons of antidepressant use in pregnancy," Shari Roan, Mar. 5, 2012

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