Antidepressants and Birth Defects

by Sharon Hopkins


It is important to understand for pregnant women that whatever they take into the body passes through the blood to the baby's blood; hence it is best advices to avoid all types of over the counter medicines for at least the first eight weeks of pregnancy. This period is particularly important because the vital organs of the baby such as the heart, lungs and the brain system are being formed during this period. Drugs taken by the mother can reach the baby through the placenta which is the same route which is taken for oxygen and nutrients. There are a lot of side-effects of medicines consumed during pregnancy on the health of the child. These drugs can affect the unborn child in several ways. They can act directly on the fetus which could cause abnormal growth of the brain or the body and could also result in death. It can also affect the placenta by affecting its function. They can constrict the blood vessels of the placenta, thus reducing the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the fetus from the mother. Such a condition causes underweight or underdeveloped babies. The drugs can also cause the uterus muscles to contract forcefully which can harm the fetus by reducing the blood supply or else it can also cause preterm labor and delivery.

Pregnancy can trigger off a lot of emotions which make it difficult to cope up with depression. It is important to take care of depression during pregnancy because if not taken care it could be harmful for the mother as well as the child's health. However, antidepressants are not a good solution to get rid of depression during pregnancy. It is very much possible that the child born might have defects depending on the antidepressants consumed by the mother. Celexa is known to cause a rare lung problem in newborns called Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the newborn or PPHN as well as heart and brain defects. Prozac and Sarafem are also known to cause PPHN. Paxil can cause PPHN, anecephaly (birth defect of the brain and skull), craniosynostosis ( birth defect affecting sutures on the head) and omphalocele ( birth defect affecting the abdominal organs). Other antidepressants such as Zoloft, TCAs, Pamelor are also known to cause such defects.

Instead of relying on antidepressants for relieving depression, one can try some home remedies. Green tea is known to be therapeutic and helps relax the mind. Also massages are the most relaxing and relieving way to treat depression. Getting engaged in hobbies and plenty of social interaction  is also very helpful in relaxing the mind.


Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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