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Taking Antidepressants During Pregnancy Is Linked To Autism Among Babies

Update Date: Dec 22, 2015 12:45 PM EST

Women have 87% risk of giving birth to children with autism if they take antidepressants in the last two trimesters of pregnancy a new study suggests.

According to Washington Post, commonly prescribed antidepressants like Prozac, Paxil, or Zoloft, also known as 'selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors' (SSRIs), even heighten the risk by 200% in a University of Montreal-led study.

"We were expecting, in a way, to find an association. We were not expecting to find such a huge association between the most used class of antidepressants during pregnancy, which is the SSRI," told Anick Berard, the chief proponent of the research as quoted saying by Huffington Post.

The Canadian researchers looked into Quebec provincial health records of births and pregnancies from 1998 to 2009. Their findings showed that children with autism had higher frequency of being born to mothers who took antidepressant pills as mentioned by Indianapolis Business Journal.

The study somehow confirms the effect the external environment has on pregnancies.

"This fits in with a lot of other research that shows that prenatal factors can definitely be related to autism," remarked Dr. Paul Wang, Senior Vice President of Medical Research for advocacy-oriented group Autism speaks as stated in a CBS News article.

According to Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 68 US kids or around 1.5 to 2% of American children are diagnosed with autism- a developmental condition linked to severe difficulty in communication.

But some experts just simply dismissed the report as over-hyped, misguided, and irresponsible for cherry picking results supposedly to earn media mileage.

 "Many epidemiologists and psychiatrists say the study, published today in JAMA Pediatrics, is flawed and will cause unnecessary panic," cautioned Emily Underwood as mentioned by Slate.

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