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Is it Safe to Take Antidepressant Medications During Pregnancy?

Most people believe that pregnancy is perhaps one of the happiest days of every woman’s life. Contrary to this, not all future mothers are ecstatic or joyous during their pregnancy. In fact, many women suffer from minor to serious cases of depression while they are pregnant.

During pregnancy, hormonal changes occur in a woman’s body. Pregnancy hormones make women more susceptible to anxiety and depression problems. As sudden feelings of sadness and low moods are generally regarded as expectable effects of pregnancy, women tend to ignore such signs, without knowing that they are probably suffering from depression.

For such reason, doctors always remind pregnant women to observe their mood swings in order to determine if they are already showing symptoms of depression. It is also frequently advised to pregnant mothers to update their doctors on the times they feel unnaturally low or sad, for mental and emotional health are very essential in pregnancy.

Antidepressant medications in pregnancy

Treatments for depression that are commonly recommended to pregnant women are psychotherapy and prescription drugs. For mild or non-severe cases of depression, medical experts only recommend therapy sessions as treatment.

Medications, on the other hand, are advised to severe cases of depression. These antidepressant medications are the ones prescribed by doctors as therapeutic drugs to use during pregnancy. Despite the efficiency of medications as treatment for serious cases of depression among pregnant women, some people are still reluctant to adhere to drug treatments for a number of safety issues.

Depression treatments for pregnant women are more carefully considered by doctors for these involve two patients: the mother and the baby. In consultations, doctors should let the future mothers know the benefits and risks associated with their recommended treatment, particularly the medications.

Risks in using antidepressant medications on pregnancy

Despite the notable side effects associated with the use of prescription drugs, women are not really prohibited from using antidepressant medications during pregnancy. Studies on the benefits and risks of these medications help people in choosing which prescription drugs work best. Clinical evidence also guides pregnant women which medications are safer to use and which ones should be avoided.

The following are three common types of antidepressant medications that pregnant women should avoid:

1. Paxil

Paxil is one type of antidepressant drug that is associated with fetal heart defects once taken during the first few months of pregnancy. Medical experts do not recommend the intake of Paxil medication to pregnant women. As for the risks on the baby, continuous intake of SSRI antidepressants may result to temporary withdrawal symptoms such as sleep disturbances and gastrointestinal complications.

2. Tricyclic antidepressants

Tricyclic antidepressants are the older classifications of antidepressants. Pregnant women are discouraged to use these types of medications, for these may pose a higher risk for unborn babies to have physical deformities.

3. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors

When pregnant women take antidepressant medications like Celexa and Prozac, their unborn babies are more susceptible to develop serious lung complications. Despite such possible side effect on pregnancy, serotonin reuptake inhibitors medications are proven to be effective drug therapy for depression.