SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressants, including the popular Prozac, have been linked to premature births in pregnant women who’ve taken the drugs, according to a new study.
The study appeared in a journal called Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, published by the American Medical Association. The research studied 329 pregnant women who were taking SSRIs during pregnancy. The study found that women taking the antidepressants were twice as likely to give birth prematurely. The findings also showed that these women were at a higher risk of giving birth to babies who needed some form of treatment in intensive care shortly after birth.
When prescribing SSRIs to treat depression in pregnant women, doctors are advised that the benefits to such treatment must outweigh the potential risks to the unborn child. While it is not clear if there are any long-term effects of SSRI drugs on the newborn, the study shows that the drug enters the fetus’ bloodstream and that some babies experience withdrawal symptoms soon after childbirth.
The study does not discuss the risks of untreated depression in pregnant women, which can also affect the baby’s growth and development.
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