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Antidepressants Taken While Pregnant May Harm Newborns

Newborns may be harmed when pregnant women take Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and other newer antidepressants during the third trimester of pregnancy. This advisory from Health Canada applies to the following antidepressants:

  • Bupropion (whether used for depression or for smoking cessation)
  • Citalopram
  • Fluoxetine
  • Fluvoxamine
  • Mirtazapine
  • Paroxetine
  • Sertraline
  • Venlafaxine

International and Canadian reports reveal that some newborns whose mothers took these medications during pregnancy have developed complications at birth requiring prolonged hospitalization, breathing support and tube feeding. Reported symptoms include: feeding and/or breathing difficulties, seizures, muscle rigidity, jitteriness and constant crying. About 20 percent of pregnant women suffer from depression, and the condition itself affects not only the woman but also the developing fetus. One of the first things you can do to help resolve this, without taking drugs, is to make sure you're getting plenty of omega-3 fats like those found in fish oil.

Science Blog August 11, 2004

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