New Study of Pregnant Mothers Taking SSRI Drugs Shows Increased Risk of Birth Complications

A recent study that polled thousands of expecting mothers has revealed a tangible link between the use of SSRI antidepressant medications during pregnancy and several types of serious birth injuries and complications.

This study found that babies that were exposed to opiate pain relievers and certain types of SSRI medication while in utero had a much greater risk of being born underweight and facing additional health problems than children born to mothers that did not use such medication during pregnancy. The rate and severity of the birth complications depended on a number of factors, including the type of SSRI medication prescribed, how long the mother continued taking the prescription, and other environmental factors.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, better known as SSRIs, are antidepressant medications that have come under a great deal of scrutiny lately due to their unintended side effects and tendency to cause physical dependence in some patients. Medications such as Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft are common forms of SSRI drugs prescribed to millions of Americans every year.

This recent study, conducted by Dr. Stephen W. Patrick and his colleagues at the Vanderbilt University Department of Pediatrics, examined data collected from women enrolled in Tennessee’s Medicaid Program, TennCare. The women polled for this study were between the ages of 15 and 44, and gave birth to their children between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2011.

Here are some of the most revealing statistics discovered during this study:

  • Infants with SSRI exposure during pregnancy were statistically more likely to have respiratory diagnoses, feeding difficulties and seizures.
  • 65% of infants diagnosed with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, or NAS, were born to a mother that filled a prescription for a SSRI and/or opiate pain-relief mediation during pregnancy.
  • When combined with opiate pain relievers, the presence of SSRI medications in pregnant mothers is a strong indication of increased risk of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies born to mothers taking these medications should be monitored in the hospital for a minimum of 4 to 7 days after birth.

The study also warned of increasing overmedication of pregnant mothers. Much more research needs to be done on the use of SSRI drugs, pain relievers, and many other types of medications in pregnant women, as well as the potential links to serious birth complications. Dr. Patrick and his colleagues found that in many cases, there was not a clear reason why these drugs were prescribed to the women in this study.

If you or a loved one are in a position where taking prescription medication during pregnancy is a necessity, make sure you consult your doctor or medical professional thoroughly before beginning treatment.  It is vitally important to the well-being of both mother and child that you and your doctor have a clear plan of what medications are safe for use during pregnancy, and how they will positively impact the health of your baby.

If you or a loved one has experienced complications, birth injuries or birth defects as a result of medical negligence, call The Yost Legal Group right away. If you have been a victim of a medical mistake, there is a limited time to file your claim. Call 1-800-YOST-LAW (967-8529) today to speak with an experienced Baltimore Birth Injury attorney for FREE. 

When you call The Yost Legal Group, Baltimore, Maryland Medical Malpractice and Birth Injury law firm, you will speak with an experienced, compassionate attorney that will help you understand the details of your case and provide the answers you need.

When you trust The Yost Legal Group to represent you, we will never charge an attorney’s fee unless we achieve a recovery for you.

Every mother has the right to a safe, healthy and extraordinary childbirth experience. If your pregnancy had a bad outcome, call The Yost Legal Group today.

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