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Does Taking Psychiatric Drugs During Pregnancy Affect Mother and Child Attachment?

Update Date: Jan 26, 2017 07:47 PM EST
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Some mothers who take psychiatric drugs during their pregnancy are often burdened with the thought that their prescription can negatively impact their relationship with their children. Experts, however, explained that a mother-child bond does not usually form until childbirth.

Dorothy Greenfeld, a licensed clinical social worker, and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale School of Medicine explained that it is normal for mothers to feel unattached to their children during pregnancy, and ever a few days after childbirth. She then explained that bonding takes time as it is a process that can "potentially" begin in pregnancy.

The lack of attachment between the mother and the child can be escalated by psychiatric conditions and medications. Though it may seem like a negative move to take anti-depressants during pregnancy, a study published in the Archives of Women's Mental Health revealed that psychiatric drugs do not seem to interfere with the mother's attachment to the fetus.

"Mothers who have depression and other mental health symptoms tend to have less positive facial expressions, fewer verbalizations, and even engage in certain types of behaviors that don't always focus on the safety of the child in the same way," Dr. Sheehan Fisher, a professor of psychiatry stated. "What our focus is on is how do we best treat the mother so that her symptoms don't get in the way of her being able to bond with the child and the impact that can have on the infant long-term."

The New York Times then explained the depression or any mental health disorder can possibly strain the bond between the mother and the baby, but not medications. Some mothers fear that taking psychiatric drugs can negatively impact their relationship with the child, or can damage the child's development.

Experts reveal, however, that it is more dangerous to ignore mental health concerns during pregnancy, thus one should seek help as soon as possible.

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