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Birth Defects and Health Disorders Linked To Antidepressants Infant

2012 July 3

Zoloft, Serlain, Lustral, Paxil and other popular antidepressants classified as SSRI (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors )have been linked to troubling birth defects. Shockingly, the FDA to this day has allowed these medications to remain in the marketplace directly compromising the health and welfare of our  infants.  Some babies born to mothers medicated during pregnancy with antidepressants have sustained severe heart, lung, cranial and abdominal defects. Other adverse health impacts of in-utero antidepressant usage are increasingly being documented.

Despite ample information the now know risks of treating pregnant women with SSRI anti-depressants, drug manufacturers are failing to properly inform doctors and expectant mothers. Babies born with these defects, if they survive, face a life compromised by major health obstacles. Treatment costs can be stagger. The heartache for parents is unending.

Some honest individuals within the medical industry are now calling into question the entire practice of prescribing anti-depressants to pregnant women.  In an excellent article,  maternal-fetal-medicine specialist Adam Urato, M.D., comments on the CommonHealth blog:

“We are currently seeing what amounts to an epidemic of antidepressant drug exposure during pregnancy and there is a pervasive lack of public information and understanding on this topic. Pregnant women need accurate information about drugs they take. I am surprised on a regular basis by my colleagues in obstetrics and psychiatry who are simply unaware of the large body of scientific studies clearly showing antidepressants to be associated with pregnancy complications”

Risks to Mother and Baby

Besides the aforementioned birth defects, Urato lists the following documented risks associated with antidepressant use in pregnancy.

  • Miscarriage (estimated to be as high as 10%)
  • Preterm Birth (may be greater than 20%)
  • Preeclampsia
  • Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM)
  • Decreased Fetal Growth
  • Newborn Behavioral Syndrome (Upwards of 30%)
  • Heart Conduction Problems (i.e, the prolonged QT syndrome shows 10% impacted)
  • Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)
  • Autism Risks (Doubling of Risks)
  • Unknown long term impact on brain development

The public has been conditioned to believe that antidepressants are harmless. Drug companies have been complacent in engineering this perception. The practice of prescribing antidepressants to the pregnant has sinister implications when efforts to thwart information about health impacts are enacted as there are two “patients” impacted by usage—the dyad of mother and baby. The baby is biological dependent dependent on the mother for immediate survival. But, an infant is also dependent on society for enforcing protections and basic issues of human rights. Society considers it abusive and criminal when babies are born addicted to illicit drugs as those negative health are well understood. Mounting evidence of birth defects and other adverse health outcomes now beckon us to apply the same criteria to antidepressants.

The public health focus should be expanded to include the universal care of the pregnant dyad —-mother and child.  For one, prenatal care needs to be revamped to provide a comprehensive approach to wellness. Prenatal visits should extend beyond the all too rote monitoring of the mere pregnant state.  Examinations should not merely include the biological monitoring of the week by week stages of pregnancy, but should also afford greater focus on the overall mental well being of the mother.  This must go deeper than simply prescribing or supporting the use of antidepressants across the board in pregnancy.  Greater screening for underlying health issues that can trigger depressive moods —such as  undiagnosed thyroid disorders  and inherent nutritional deficiencies need to figure into treatment plans. Women should have resources to obtain traditional counseling services —-“talk  therapy”. Such therapies have demonstrated to be just as effective in supporting and reversing depression.

Additionally, as a society we need to evaluate the demands we place on our pregnant woman. A recent study has suggested that working over 36 hours per week has the possibility to impact the health outcome of a pregnancy.  But, obviously most pregnant woman need to work.  Pregnancy is no longer actively viewed as a disability in today’s society…which is good. But maybe we need to replace some of the pampering that ensconced pregnancies past. Is a superwoman mentality lending itself to depression in pregnancy?

The fact is that each and every time that a woman is pregnant is a unique venture in her life. It is a collective mind and body experience that requires the loving hand of her partner and expertise of her medical team. Ideally it should also include the embrace of family and friends, practical accommodations of her employer and nurture from community and religious organizations.

The vast majority of pregnant woman, from the moment they confirm their pregnancy, make immediate lifestyle and dietary changes to insure the health of their unborn child.  Most cease smoking, consuming alcohol, and openly discuss any needed medications with their physicians for safety guidance in pregnancy. But, if the drug companies are deceptive in alerting doctors to known risks that they are aware of in pregnant population, a medical professional can’t properly advise his patient.

“Drug manufacturers have the direct responsibility to warn doctors and patients of the risks in taking this type of medication while pregnant. When the big pharmaceutical companies fail to warn customers about the possible devastating effects this drug has on newborn babies, they must and will be held accountable” says attorney at

Mothers want a healthy pregnancy and a well baby. The truth is owed to the public. The health of an entire generation of new people —-our babies—is dependent on it.  This mad science must not further ensue.







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