Can a woman take antidepressants such as Prozac, Zoloft, Wellbutrin SR during pregnancy? The body of a pregnant woman and a baby in her womb react differently to most drugs. Besides, a woman’s body is undergoing serious changes during pregnancy: the load on the liver, kidneys, endocrine system increases; the womb becomes a place of actively dividing cells of the embryo, leading to its growth and development. In everyday life, we often use drugs, which effect on the body is unknown. Canadian Family Pharmacy will clear up the matter.
The most dangerous pregnancy period
Medications can affect the fetus at all stages of pregnancy. The most dangerous period is the first three months, when germ cells division is most active and the basic organs and systems are being formed.
Medications can weaken the blood flow of placenta, disrupt the exchange of substances between the mother and her child. Some drugs can alter the growth tempo of the cells, tissues, organs. This leads to fetal malformations, in some cases, incompatible with life.
What to pay attention to? Canadian Family Pharmacy advice
- Prescribing drugs and their dosage, a physician takes into account not only drugs possible effect on pregnancy, but also pregnancy effect on drugs action;
- During this period absorption, distribution and excretion of the drug may vary, resulting in a change in its effects on the body;
- During pregnancy, the volume of extracellular fluid and concentration of proteins and other substances is changing;
- In the last trimester the liver and kidney functions, involved in removal and processing of drugs, are also changing.
Administration of “harmful” products should be discontinued at the stage of planning pregnancy – and not only by women, but also by a future father. And when pregnancy comes, parents should take special care: follow the doctor’s recommendations and beware of uncontrolled medication intake.
Canadian antidepressants and pregnancy
Canadian scientists have found out that the use of antidepressants during pregnancy increases the risk of autism in a child by 87 percent. This discovery caused a stormy debate among psychiatrists and neuroscientists. The study was presented in JAMA Pediatrics journal, and the short message was published by Science News.
Canadian scientists analyzed data of 145,456 babies born in Quebec from 1998 to 2009.
- Children of mothers who took selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (a common antidepressants type) in the second or third trimester of pregnancy, were diagnosed autism spectrum disorders (ASD) 87 percent more often;
- Children of mothers who took more than two antidepressants types in the late stages of pregnancy had 300 percent increased risk of autism spectrum disorders development.
The authors of the article advise pregnant women suffering from mild or moderate depression to avoid chemical treatments of depression as much as possible. Otherwise, antidepressants side-effects may be really dangerous.
Different opinions on the matter
However, other scientists argue that a mother’s depression (if left untreated) may have much worse effect on fetal development. Sleep disturbance, wrong diet, alcohol consumption, the risk of suicide – all these symptoms of depression may be more dangerous than anti-depressants. In addition, the authors of the study poorly controlled the fact that women with mental disorders (including depression) have higher chances to have a child with ASD even without antidepressants treatment.
Autism spectrum disorders are the psychological characteristics that describe a wide range of abnormal behavior and difficulty in social interaction and communication, as well as strictly limited interests and repetitive behavioral acts. Over the past 10 years, the number of new cases of autism has grown by almost 50 percent. Some scientists explain this growth by increased public attention and increased accuracy in diagnosis; others try to find more objective reasons.
In theory, depression and other mental disorders may really contribute to autism development, because the mother is likely to lead unhealthy lifestyles, smokes and drinks alcohol. In this study, scientists revealed the risk of autism among children whose mothers used antidepressant pills. But once the researchers took into account mental disorders, this association disappeared. In addition, scientists revealed a slight increase in the risk of autism in children whose mothers had used antidepressants within two years prior to conception, but not during pregnancy. All these facts may testify that the risk of autism is not associated with antidepressants.
Another study analyzed data of 627,000 children born between 1996 and 2005. 3900 of them were diagnosed with autism. But only 52 children were born from mothers who took antidepressants. More than 6000 mothers used antidepressants during pregnancy, but their children were born healthy.
Nobody knows what causes autism, which strikes every 88th child. But the disease causes violation of brain development in the fetus.
When genetics do matter
In addition to information about the relationship of antidepressants used by a mother and a possible diagnosis of a child’s autism, the revealed data also proved that some people are genetically predisposed to autism (the story of their family). Besides, the development of autism is also affected by the mother’s age, depression and certain social-economic factors, such as poverty.
These results are extremely important as 6-10 percent of pregnant women are currently treating their depression with antidepressant drugs. In the present study 1,054 children were diagnosed with autism (0.72% of the children in the study). Since 1966, prevalence of autism among children has increased from 4 to 100 children. “It’s biologically possible that antidepressants cause autism if applied during pre-natal development of the child’s brain, because serotonin is involved in numerous pre- and post-natal development processes, including cell division, cell migration, cell differentiation and synaptogenesis – formation of links between brain cells. Some classes of antidepressant drugs work by inhibiting serotonin (SSRI antidepressants and some other classes), what has a negative impact on the brain’s ability to develop to the full extent and adapt in the womb.
Canadian Family Pharmacy reminds you that all these precautions relate only to pregnancy period. In all other cases depression without adequate treatment can lead to serious consequences for both the mother and the infant. Do not postpone your depression treatment. You may buy Canadian best antidepressants (Zoloft, Prozac and many others) at Canadian Family Pharmacy.
General recommendations on medication intake during pregnancy
- Planning a pregnancy, avoid taking drugs, as possible;
- Follow your doctor’s instructions when taking online pharmacy medication;
- Be sure to inform your doctor about your pregnancy when he prescribes you medication;
- Do not listen to the advice of friends about choice of medication – they may not be safe for you;
- Be sure to consult your doctor if you doubt any drug;
- Remember that taking drugs during pregnancy can cause birth defects (2-3% of cases).