Antidepressants in pregnancy and breastfeeding
Maternal depression can adversely affect the pregnancy and increase the risk for miscarriage, low
birth weight, small-for-gestational age, hypertension, and increased depressive symptoms. Maternal depression can also adversely affect the newborn and increase the risk for poor bonding, poor feeding, and developmental delays.
Can I take antidepressants when pregnant?
Pregnant and breastfeeding moms should talk to their doctor before changing or stopping any
prescriptions. SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) antidepressants can be taken during
pregnancy and breastfeeding.
There are many studies about SSRI use in pregnancy. Looking at all of those studies together,
SSRI use in pregnancy is not likely to increase the risk of birth defects or other poor outcomes. Mom may need to increase her antidepressant dose to help her remain stable during the pregnancy.
What about breastfeeding and antidepressants?
For breastfeeding, antidepressants can get into the milk in small amounts but are not expected to
cause problems for the baby. Abruptly stopping these medications can cause serious side effects including dizziness, vomiting, sleeping problems, nightmares, tremors, and irritability. If mom is feeling down, depressed, hopeless or has lost interest in doing things, she can talk to her doctor or the baby’s pediatrician for help.