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Antidepressant exposure may affect fetal brain development

Speaking of the use of antidepressants during pregnancy, a new Danish study is showing that exposure to antidepressants may affect a fetus' brain. Pregnancy Buzz has a nice summary of the work, which appears in the journal Pediatrics:

Danish researchers analyzed data on children born to 415 women who used antidepressants while pregnant, 489 women who said they were depressed, but didn't use drugs, and 81,042 women who weren't depressed or taking antidepressants.

They found that the babies of women who took antidepressants in the second and/or third trimesters sat up and starting walking a few weeks to a month later than the children who weren't exposed to antidepressants in utero. These milestones were still achieved within the normal range of development.

They also found that exposure to antidepressants in the second or third trimesters was associated with a lower likelihood of sitting without support at age 6 months and self-occupation at age 19 months.

The researchers told Reuters Health that the delays "may not matter for the child at all," and they're not advocating that all pregnant women stop taking medications. But the findings are another thing to consider when patients and their physicians are making treatment decisions.

Previously: Depression in pregnancy: To treat or not to treat?

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