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Usage of Antidepressant during First Trimester of Pregnancy Not Linked to Autism or ADHD
Antidepressants are used by almost 12.7% of Americans that are over 12 years old. A lot of women who take antidepressants are already eligible for childbirths and pregnancies. Since this is the case, there are questions about whether a woman who takes antidepressants before her pregnancy may continue to do so. Many studies explored the pros and cons of taking antidepressants but there is no definite answer yet. This is because pregnant women are often excluded from any clinical trials because of health risks.
Another research studied women who took antidepressants during their first trimester of pregnancy. The study wants to find out if the medication affects factors such as low birth weight, preterm birth, autism and ADHD in babies. Genetic influences are controlled between siblings. It is done by measuring the experience of children who were born without antidepressants and those children who were born with the medication.
The research finds out that there is an increase of preterm births for mothers who are using antidepressants. However, the conclusion made was there are no significant increase in ADHD, low birth weight or any autism disorder when the experiences of the siblings are analyzed. There's also the issue of depression. Although the results show that there is an increase in preterm births for mothers who are taking antidepressants, there are also studies that show that depression can greatly contribute to preterm births.
Sarah Westber, PharmD, BCPS, FCCP noted that despite the difficulty of the study, researchers were still able to produce great results. Pregnant women are not generally enrolled in studies, researches, or trials because there might be unknown health risks that may arise later on. The fetus is still developing and it needs to have optimum care.
Dr.Westber added there should be a balance when taking antidepressants. If a major depression is not treated, the risk of preterm birth can increase significantly. Everyone should balance the benefits and risks of the medication as every mothers and fetus are different. Uncontrolled depression during pregnancy can be bad for both the mother and the fetus.
The study focuses on the first trimester of pregnancy. The study wasn't able to tell the effects of the medication later on when the pregnancy is at its second or third trimester. Not all antidepressants have the same ingredients. They can differ significantly in terms of their effect on the undeveloped fetus.
The antidepressant medication that was used was called SSRI. This is the most widely used antidepressants and about 82% of pregnant women used this medication for this study. There are no new data about the latest antidepressants. Therefore, it is still unclear if other medication can cause risk to a pregnant mother.
Dr.Westber added that it is important for the pharmacists to identify the needs of a pregnant woman. The history and the situation of the patients should be taken into consideration. The counseling should be patient-centered so that a holistic education can be provided.
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