Antidepressants In Last 6 Months Of Pregnancy May Increase Risk Of Autism In Babies
Antidepressant use by pregnant women may increase the risk of autism in children, according to Telegraph.
Research showed that pregnant women taking antidepressants in their last six months of pregnancy were 87 percent more likely to have a child with autism. However, there did not seem to be any risk among expectant mothers who were on antidepressants in the first three months of pregnancy.
"Use of antidepressants, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, during the second and/or third trimester increases the risk of autism spectrum disease in children, even after considering maternal depression," said Anick Berard of the University of Montreal and colleagues, in a news release.
While examining 145,000 children in Quebec between 1998 and 2009, researchers found that 4,700 babies, or 3 percent of the group, were subjected to antidepressants during pregnancy.
Just 31 babies, or 1 percent of the group, were diagnosed with autism after birth. That is because the mothers took antidepressants in the second or third trimester, researchers say.
Even as risk of birth defects and other problems for such babies are low, there are few medicines that seem to prove to be low risk. However, if the potential risks outweigh the health benefits, health officials have been advised to continue prescribing antidepressants.
It is believed that serotonin may have a negative impact on the baby's mental development.
"It is biologically plausible that anti-depressants are causing autism if used at the time of brain development in the womb, as serotonin is involved in numerous pre- and postnatal developmental processes, including cell division, the migration of neuros, cell differentiation and synaptogenesis - the creation of links between brain cell," Berard concluded.
The study is published in JAMA Pediatrics.