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Study links antidepressant use to pregnancy complications

When dealing with pregnant patients, doctors should be especially mindful of the treatments and medications they prescribe. As expecting North Carolina parents know, developing children are particularly sensitive to any changes in their mother's health, which is why thoughtful prenatal care is so important.

A recently released study reignited concerns about how pregnant women with signs of depression are treated. The study found that women who take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors to treat depression are at a higher risk of experiencing pregnancy-related complications, such as early birth, miscarriage and birth defects.

The doctor in charge of the study characterized the findings as "concerning." According to the researchers, the biggest problem is that doctors are too quick to prescribe antidepressants during pregnancy and don't weigh the severity of the depression with the potential side effects.

Critics of this study say that the findings are not accurate. Furthermore, they assert that study does not take into consideration the importance of dealing with depression -- and its effects -- during pregnancy.

Despite the criticism, the study's authors say that their data is consistent. One author went on to say that prescriptions should only be issued in the most severe cases of depression and other forms of therapy may be far more effective for those with less severe depression.

Whenever a doctor prescribes a medication for a patient -- especially if they are pregnant -- they should be certain to weigh the benefits of treatment with the risks of doing so. If a doctor issues a prescription without carefully considering potential complications, then they may be demonstrating negligence. More than anything else, pregnant patients deserve the peace of mind that their doctor is consistently acting in their best interests.

Source: Huffington Post, "Antidepressants During Pregnancy Carry Risks, Study Says," Catherine Pearson, Oct. 14, 2012

  • Our firm has experience helping North Carolina families through aftermath of medical errors made during pregnancy or birth. To learn more, please see our pregnancy complications page

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