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Antidepressants During Pregnancy, Baby's Heads Will Be Smaller?

Update Date: Mar 13, 2012 08:58 PM EDT

Antidepressants during pregnancy could effect a baby's head and body size, according to a new study.

The study, published in the March 5 issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, researchers examined the health of nearly 7,700 pregnant women and the babies, and determined 99 women used selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI).

They found that mothers taking antidepressants gave birth to babies with smaller heads than babies born to general mothers. Babies born to moms taking antidepressants were also twice as likely to be born prematurely, but had no delays in body growth.

Mothers taking Antidepressants had fewer depressive symptoms. But the researchers found some moms had symptoms of clinical depression but weren't taking SSRI drugs, their babies were more likely to be born with smaller head and body size.

"Fetal body growth is a marker of fetal health and fetal head growth is a marker for brain development," Dr. Hanan El Marroun, a postdoctorate researcher at Sophia Children's Hospital and Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to told HealthDay.

"If the depression is untreated, it affected the whole body; but if the mother used SSRIs, the head growth of the fetus was affected. This may mean that smaller head growth is not explained by depression, but by the SSRIs."

But researchers suggests a serotonin imbalance is contributing to delays in head growth. The authors said, small fetal head growth has been tied to behavioral problems and psychiatric disorders later in life.

They warned more long-term studies are needed before making a recommendation to pregnant moms. "We must be careful not to infer an association of SSRI use in pregnancy with future developmental problems".

Nearly 6 percent of pregnant women take antidepressants. Depression treatment during pregnancy is important because mother might not have the energy to take care of herself or might seek unhealthy habits, such as drinking, drugs and smoking, and it would put moms at a higher risk for postpartum depression.

Therefore if you have depression and pregnant or considering having a baby, you should talk with doctor to weigh the risks.

Source: www.momisbest.com

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