January was Birth Defects Prevention Month, and MotherToBaby launched a free app designed to provide evidence-based information to pregnant and breastfeeding women. There is Information on a broad range of medications, some herbal remedies, [...]
Many women experience some degree of sleep disturbance during pregnancy. For a significant number of women, the sleep disruption may be so severe as to require some type of intervention. In a previous post, we discussed the use of different types of medications to treat insomnia during pregnancy. While these drugs are highly effective, many women with sleep problems inquire about the use of “natural” agents, such as melatonin, during pregnancy.
The following post was first published in OB/GYN News.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), which include childhood autism, autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome, atypical autism, and other pervasive developmental disorders, are characterized by social and communication difficulties and by stereotyped or repetitive behaviors and interests. It [...]
Response to the New York Times Article on SSRIs and Pregnancy: Moving Toward a More Balanced View of Risk
We have received many emails and calls from colleagues and patients regarding the recent article on the safety of SSRI use during pregnancy published in the New York Times. In this article, health writer Roni Caryn Rabin, detailed the risks associated with the use of antidepressants during pregnancy.
A recent study from researchers at the University of North Carolina reports that the children of depressed mothers treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during pregnancy were more likely to develop Chiari type 1 malformations than were the children of mothers with no history of depression.
An increasing number of reproductive age women now take newer anticonvulsants for the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders; however, information regarding the reproductive safety of these medications is limited. A recent study has evaluated the cognitive and language development of children born to women with epilepsy exposed in utero to levetiracetam (LEV, Keppra) or sodium valproate (VPA, Depakote), as compared to control children born to women without epilepsy not taking medication during pregnancy.
Some studies have shown an association between in utero exposure to antidepressants and various pregnancy outcomes, including preterm delivery, low birth weight, and lower Apgar scores; however, these outcomes have also been observed in infants born to depressed mothers who are not taking medication. Thus, it has been difficult to determine if there is a causal relationship between antidepressant exposure and these negative pregnancy outcomes or if untreated maternal depression is itself responsible for these negative outcomes.
While some studies have shown an association between in utero exposure to antidepressants and various pregnancy outcomes, including preterm delivery, low birth weight, and lower Apgar scores, these outcomes have also been linked to untreated maternal depression. Thus, it has been difficult to determine if there is a causal relationship between antidepressant exposure and negative pregnancy outcomes or whether maternal depression is itself responsible for these negative outcomes.
Over the last decade, attention in the medical literature has gathered logarithmically to focus on potentially efficacious treatments for perinatal depression. Studies of relevant databases, editorials, and various reviews have addressed the reproductive safety concerns of antidepressant treatments, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) on one hand, and the impact of untreated maternal psychiatric illness on fetal and maternal well-being on the other.