Long-term Effects of Fetal Exposure to Antidepressants

Although data accumulated over the last 30 years suggest that some medications may be used safely during pregnancy, our knowledge regarding the risks of prenatal exposure to psychotropic medications is incomplete. Because neuronal migration and differentiation occur throughout pregnancy and into the early years of life, the central nervous system (CNS) remains particularly vulnerable to toxic agents throughout pregnancy. While insults that occur early in pregnancy may result in gross abnormalities, exposures that occur after neural tube closure (at 32 days of gestation) may produce more subtle changes in behavior and functioning.