Antidepressants During Pregnancy


Obie Editorial Team

pregnancy and antidepressantsBeing pregnant comes with enough stress that mom does not need to worry about fighting depression and regulating her antidepressant medications. For the pregnant woman, the psychiatrist and the obstetrician can work together to find a suitable treatment schedule that will work with the pregnancy and keep baby healthy during gestation.

Continuing Treatment When Pregnant
Some pregnant women will feel the need to instantly stop taking their antidepressant medications when they find out they are pregnant. This is not a safe choice. Many antidepressants require a weaning period before the medication can be stopped. If this weaning period is not followed the pregnant woman may feel some serious side effect of withdrawal. These side effects may include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, tiredness, inability to sleep, increased irritability and thoughts of suicide.

Obstetricians are used to mothers who are being treated with antidepressants. There are no stigmas involved in the admission of being treated for depression. The best thing to do is talk to the prescribing doctor and the obstetrician about continuing treatment with or without antidepressants.

The Affect of Depression on Baby
With nearly 10% of pregnant women suffering from depression while they are pregnant, there are quite a few women dealing with antidepressants along with their prenatal care. Pregnancy does not have a negative effect physically on depression, but the trials and tribulations - doubts and concerns that all pregnant women face are bound to place added pressure on the mom.

Treatment Schedules and Pregnancy
It is important to maintain any antidepressant treatments that were being taken before pregnancy - during pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones do not solve depression and the effects of untreated depression can be far worse than the effect of the antidepressants on the fetus. There are antidepressants available today that can be taken for the duration of the pregnancy to keep mom's mood even and healthy.

Choosing an Antidepressant During Pregnancy
There are four major different types of antidepressants prescribed today. These are:

  • SSRIs
  • Tricyclic
  • MAOI
  • Wellbutrin

SSRIs are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. The most common medications falling into this category are Celexa, Prozac, Sarafem, Paxil and Zoloft. Of these medications Celexa, Prozac, Sarafem and Zoloft are considered safe to treat depression during pregnancy. Paxil should be avoided.

Tricyclic antidepressants work in a different manner than SSRIs. These medications include Amitriptyline and Pamelor. Both medications can be considered as part of depression treatment during pregnancy.

MAOIs or monoamine oxidase inhibitors should be avoided at all cost during pregnancy. The side effect most common are a sudden increase in blood pressure that can result in stroke. Nardil and Parnate are the most common MAOIs.

Wellbutrin falls into the other category for antidepressants. Wellbutrin is prescribed as an antidepressant and an anti-smoking medication. Wellbutrin can be considered during pregnancy as there are no risks noted to the fetus.

A Total Treatment Plan
You should never stop your antidepressant on your own and without first talking to your doctor. It is very important to follow a total treatment plan during pregnancy. The antidepressants are generally safe during pregnancy and taking them is often safer that not taking them. Working with a psychologist along with the psychiatrist can reduce the need for the antidepressant.