Moms-to-be on antidepressants: Slight risk

Jan. 20, 2012 at 11:39 PM
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STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Women who take antidepressants during pregnancy slightly increase the risk of delivering babies with high blood pressure in the lungs, Swedish researchers say.

Researchers at the Centre for Pharmacoepidemiology at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, said persistent pulmonary hypertension is an increase in blood pressure in the lungs leading to shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. It is a rare, but severe disease with strong links to heart failure.

The researchers reviewed 1.6 million births from 1996 to 2007 in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The babies were assessed after 33 weeks.

About 11,000 of the women filled out a prescription for antidepressants in late pregnancy and about 17,000 in early pregnancy. Those who filled out a prescription were generally older women who smoked.

Another 54,184 women were identified as having previously undergone psychiatric diagnosis but were not currently taking any medication, the research said.

Factored into the analysis was maternal smoking, body mass index in early pregnancy, year of birth, gestational age at birth, birth weight and maternal diseases including epilepsy, malignancies, arthritis, bowel disease, lupus and pre-eclampsia.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, found that among 11,014 women who used antidepressants in late pregnancy, 33 -- 0.2 percent -- gave birth to babies with persistent pulmonary hypertension. Out of 17,053 women who used antidepressant drugs in early pregnancy, 32 -- less than 0.2 percent -- gave birth to babies who were diagnosed with persistent pulmonary hypertension.

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