Open Access Mini Review

The Adverse Effects of Antidepressant Medication Treatments on the Offspring of Women with Perinatal Depression

Amira Mohammed Ali1*, Afaf Ahmed Hassan2 and Amin Omar Hendawy3,4

1Department of Psychiatric Nursing and Mental Health, Alexandria University, Egypt

2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecological Nursing, Alexandria University, Egypt

3Department of Animal and Poultry Production, Damanhour University, Egypt

4Department of Biological Production, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Japan

Corresponding Author

Received Date: October 20, 2018;  Published Date: January 09, 2019


Background: Antidepressants are considered the first line of treatment of depression, which prevails during pregnancy and following child birth.

Objective: This paper aims to review, synthesize, and discuss the available literature regarding the effect of using antidepressants during pregnancy/lactation on pregnancy outcomes as well as fetal and neonatal status. Whenever possible, we elaborate on the mechanisms behind these effects.

Results: Use of antidepressants during pregnancy is associated with birth complications such as premature labor. These drugs cross the placenta and access the fetal circulation and organs, which is associated with congenital anomalies and impairment of motor and neurodevelopment during childhood. Antidepressants vary according their level of excretion in human milk; however, the literature on the effect of these drugs on nursing babies is controversial.

Conclusion: Antidepressants use during pregnancy represents a threat to the growing fetus; whenever possible safer alternatives should be considered. Further rigorous investigations of the effect of these drugs on breastfed babies are necessary.

Keywords: Antidepressant medications; Adverse effects; Congenital anomalies; Perinatal depression; Pregnancy; Lactation

Abbreviations: IGF2: Insulin-like Growth Factor 2; NGF: Nerve Growth Factor; OXTR: Oxytocin Receptor Gene; SERT: Serotonin Transporter; SLC6A4: Fetal Serotonin Transporter Gene; SNRIs: Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors; SSRIs: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors; TeCA: Tetracyclic Antidepressant.

Signup for Newsletter
Scroll to Top