Antidepressant Use in Pregnancy Linked to Preterm Birth

preterm birthResearchers have recently completed a systematic review of published literature and discovered that the use of antidepressant medicines during pregnancy can increase the risk of preterm birth.[1] While this risk has been demonstrated by a plethora of past studies, this research further solidifies the recommendation to avoid antidepressants during pregnancy, unless the expectant mother’s needs cannot be met by alternative approaches.1

“Preterm birth is a major clinical problem throughout the world and rates have been increasing over the past two decades, ” said lead researcher Krista Huybrechts, MS, PhD. “At the same time, rates of antidepressant use during pregnancy have increased approximately four-fold. Therefore, it is essential to determine what effects these medications have on pregnancy.”1

Huybrechts and colleagues conducted their systematic review of published studies that evaluated women who had taken antidepressants while pregnant and provided information on the fetus’ gestational age at birth.1 Researchers found the association between antidepressants and preterm birth to be strongest with use in the third trimester.1

“We studied 41 papers on this topic and found that the available scientific evidence is becoming clearer that antidepressants use in pregnancy is associated with preterm birth,” said researcher Adam Urato, MD. “The complication of preterm birth does not appear to be due to the maternal depression, but rather it appears likely to be a medication effect. It is important to keep in mind, however, that the issues of treatment of depression during pregnancy is complex and that there are many factors to consider. Pregnant women and their providers need to weigh many issues. It is crucial, though, that the public gets accurate information on this topic.”1

Babies that are born preterm have higher rates of infant mortality when compared to full-term babies.1 However, surviving infants are then at an increased risk of health problems that range from neurodevelopmental disabilities to intellectual delays to chronic health problems.1

“Pregnant women with depression need proper treatment and our results should not be seen as an argument to ignore depression in these patients,” said Huybrechts. “These drugs may be necessary in some pregnant women with severe depression in whom other approaches are inadequate. However, for many others, non-drug treatments, such as psychotherapy, will help, and aren’t associated with complications like preterm birth.”1

[1] Nauert, R. (2014). Antidepressants During Pregnancy Tied to Preterm Birth. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/03/28/antidepressants-during-pregnancy-tied-to-preterm-birth/67751.html


  • Rahees

    April 25, 2014, 1:12 pm

    Hey.I’m a 100% non synthetically-medicated kid. Diagnosed schizophrenic and have very serious positive symptoms and equally horrible negative symptoms. Here is what I do to keep on top of the depression that is one of my negative symptoms.1) Omega 3 Fish Oil. You may have to buy a brand manufactured for kids because adult brands don’t tend to be filtered for mercury and you DEFINITELY want a mercury-free product. 2) Multi-vitamins. Take something with a very high iron, vitamin D and magnesium.3) Exercise. If you’re overweight, a healthier bodyweight will help you out. If you’re not, exercise will still release endorphins. Personally when I’m at my worst I do yoga from flashcards, (this is when I cannot leave the house) boxing, and jumping jacks while a music channel (usually rock but I figure anything with a good beat that you like listening to when you’re happy will work) is on. I also go running, when I’m not as bad, usually in a forest on warm days or at a beach on cold days, somewhere where I’ll be alone with nature and my ipod. 4) Music. I mentioned the music channel & ipod above, but I also blare Queen, Bowling for Soup, Blink-182 and the All-American Rejects (aka nobody who sings about death, depression, suicide, sadness, or has a downbeat – less than 4/4 – track) and I HATE IT. It makes me MAD and MAD is better than depressed. It is more productive. ;]5) I force myself to do things I enjoy when I’m happy. I take a shower with the nice smelling soap and warm my towels on the radiator, I watch the funny episodes of Firefly and my favourite films and read magazines and This Book Will Save Your Life (A.M Homes – it’s my favourite book). And if that sucks, I do the laundry and hoover. For me what works is just keeping moving. Then even if my whole day sucks and I can’t bear it, the next day I can wake up to something good I’ve done and maybe feel better for it – or I have fond memories of my favourite movie etc.6) My favourite one – I read a book I’ve written. It’s a big old book that I bought ages ago and when I’m happy, I write things I like in the book. Stupid stuff like, Xander from Buffy, and the sound from line arrays, and Diamond 4’s, and sherbert lemons, and Harry Potter 1, and Gandhi quotes, things that have no consequence. If I’m only mildly down, it can get me back up.7) Meditation. Just sit quietly and concentrate on not concentrating on anything. If that makes sense. Don’t allow yourself to have thoughts. Let your only thought be the thought that stops you thinking about anything. It sounds complex but you probably get my meaning. I like to meditate either in the dark in my room but the sunlight is good for depression so I force myself to sit in the middle of the living room with all the shades open in the sunlight. Therapy. Not from a councillor – from a psychologist, in particular a psychologist who is a qualified Cognitive Behavioural Therapist – these people are like GOLDDUST. They will teach you how to get through your worst moments and help you tailor your recovery techniques to your own personality. Plus, they’re also usually really cool not-up-themselves people. Interview a few different psych’s if you can, and if they’re in an office and wearing a suit, don’t bother. Find someone who wears jeans and listens to the music you like and likes the TV shows you like, so you geniunely like their company and that way, you’ll get a lot more out of your time with them – it’ll be more friendly and less clinical. And that in itself will lift your mood.Please bear in mind that the most important thing to have to get over depression without meds is psychological resilience. You need to be the type of depressed person who says, this sucks, but I WILL GET THROUGH THIS. I WILL NOT GIVE UP.. I WILL FORCE MYSELF THROUGH THIS. If you’re prone to giving up (I am not saying this is something to be ashamed of, it’s just something to be honest about) you may have to come to terms with the fact that you may need a low dosage of meds to get you through, and you may have to rely more heavily on therapy. Either way, get a CBT and remember you are not alone, and you should never give up on yourself.’When all you’ve got to keep is strong, move along. And even when your hope is gone, move along.’Good luck.

    • Meghan LaCasse

      April 25, 2014, 1:21 pm

      Hi Rahees,

      Thanks for letting us know what works for you! You are right when you say to never give up. Recovery is possible!

      Wellington Retreat

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