Taking certain antidepressants in late pregnancy more than doubles the odds of a lung complication in newborns, a new review says.
Fortunately, the study also found that the absolute risk of the complication — known as persistent pulmonary hypertension — was still low, affecting about 3.5 out of every 1,000 births, according to study author Dr. Sophie Grigoriadis.
“Women taking these medications in pregnancy should not panic. The risk is still quite low. It should be one of the factors you consider when you decide to use medications, but it has to be balanced with the potential problems that can occur if you don’t treat depression,” said Grigoriadis, head of the Women’s Mood and Anxiety Clinic: Reproductive Transitions at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, in Toronto.
Deciding how to treat depression during pregnancy can be difficult, the study noted. The benefits of antidepressants have to be weighed against potential harms, and compared to the potential risks of untreated depression.
Untreated depression in a pregnant woman can lead to unhealthy eating habits, poor weight gain, high blood pressure, inadequate prenatal care and possible drug and alcohol abuse, according to the March of Dimes.