Pregnancy and medicine is always a controversial subject. One of the numerous controversies that’s been brewing over the past several years is over the use of antidepressants in pregnancy and whether or not it’s important for a mother, who is already taking antidepressants, to continue her medicine during pregnancy. Obviously, the important question is – does it harm the fetus?
Studies are mixed and so are doctors’ opinions. Many in the medical community are coming out now and saying that it’s more important to have a happy mother throughout the pregnancy and if antidepressants are a way of reaching that goal, then it’s OK for the mother to continue her treatment throughout pregnancy. (The important caveat is that breastfeeding while on antidepressant therapy is not encouraged.) However, recent studies say that there may be a higher risk of premature births, smaller birth weights, and even autism if treatment is continued.
It may be important which antidepressant is taken during pregnancy as well. Generally, tricyclic antidepressants, certain SSRIs including Zoloft, and Wellbutrin are probably safe to take throughout pregnancy, but other tricyclic antidepressants may have a link to limb malformations if taken in the later months of pregnancy. As you can see, the literature and studies are mixed.
So, if you’re concerned, what can you do? Think about your happiness, because a happy mother equals a happy baby. If talk therapy works for you, you may be able to make it through without medication. If your pregnancy hormones are throwing your moods all out of whack and you’re not happy? It may be more important for you – and your baby – to maintain your medications throughout the entirety of pregnancy. (The famous internet celebrity, Dooce (Heather Armstrong) maintained her medication throughout her pregnancy and her daughter was fine.) As always, it’s important to work with your doctor to make the right choice for you.
But remember, if you’re happy, your baby is happy. Make the decision that’s right for you.