Antidepressants May Not Be As Risky During Pregnancy As Originally Thought

pregnancy, woman, womenPrevious research suggested that women should have a bit of concern while attempting to conceive if they are on antidepressants. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, or SSRIs, were thought to increase the risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension in newborns. Now, a study published in JAMA shows that perhaps women don’t need to be as hesitant about SSRIs as they once were.

The study shows that the key compounds in antidepressants (SSRIs) are lower than previous research had shown, according to TIME magazine. In turn, the risks of conditions such as PPHN is likely lower than experts had thought.

“Evidence from this large study of publicly insured pregnant women may be consistent with a potential increased risk of PPHN associated with maternal use of SSRIs in late pregnancy,” wrote the authors of the report. “However, the absolute risk was small, and the risk increase appears more modest than suggested in previous studies.”

The overall risk was low, but it’s worth noting that if a female took an SSRI medication later in pregnancy, the chances of PPHN were greater. Researchers stated that the SSRIs could be directly responsible for this outcome.

Pregnancy and Depression

As a female who is taking an SSRI medication myself, it makes me a little happier to know that the medicine I require daily will not harm my future child. However, I’m still faced with the decision that many women confront when it’s time to get pregnant — should I stop my medications (regardless of their SSRI content)? Furthermore, how will my medications impact the health of my unborn child?

Luckily, I haven’t had to cross this road as of yet, but I’ve heard the stories of women who have struggled with the choice (particularly with SSRIs). As anyone on an antidepressant will tell you, it makes a world of difference to have the medication at your disposal. To go without it, even for the sake of a baby, can have a negative impact on everything from friendships to relationships.

Of course, I intend to speak to my doctor about my options when the time comes, and most women do. That being said, it’s obvious that more research still needs to be done on SSRIs, pregnancy and alternatives for women who want to have a baby.


Sifferlin, Alexandra. “Why Taking Antidepressants During Pregnancy Might Not Be So Risky.” Time. June 2, 2015.

Huybrechts, Krista. “Antidepressant Use Late in Pregnancy and Risk of Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn.” JAMA. June 2, 2015.

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