Are Antidepressants Safe to Use During Pregnancy ?

Are Antidepressants Safe to Use During Pregnancy ?
Are Antidepressants Safe to Use During Pregnancy ?

While you’re planning your pregnancy or during your trimesters, be very careful and remember that you shouldn’t take antidepressants. The chemical effect on your baby and body can be catastrophic possibly causing a miscarriage.

Your doctor may suggest tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline, imipramine, and bupropion as alternatives to some of the more toxic antidepressants normally used.

Antidepressants are widely used to treat depression in women who are also pregnant or trying to get pregnant. It’s estimated that around one in 10 women experiences depression at some point during their lifetime. Keep reading to find out more about the effects of antidepressants on a fetus, the side effects of SSRIs, natural remedies for anxiety during pregnancy, and more.

What Exactly Are Antidepressants?

Antidepressants are medications used to treat disorders related to depression. There are two main types of antidepressant medication: SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and non-SSRIs. Most antidepressants are FDA-approved to treat moderate to severe depression, anxiety disorders, and other mood disorders. Although antidepressants are used to treat a variety of mood disorders, they are not considered to be mood boosters. People may think that antidepressants are a quick-fix way to “boost” their mood, but they actually work by balancing chemicals in the brain.

How Do Antidepressants Work?

Most antidepressants have been found to increase the availability of serotonin and/or norepinephrine in the brain and spinal cord. Serotonin and norepinephrine are neurotransmitters believed to be associated with mood and behavior. Antidepressants can help people with depression re-balance their moods. Although antidepressants may take a few weeks to fully work, most people experience some improvement in their symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, and sleep quality, within the first 2-4 weeks.

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Always check with your doctor on different medicines. Doctors will not recommend this list of drugs to pregnant women :

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (phenelzine and tranylcypromine)
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs or SSRI) such as fluoxetine, paroxetine, citalopram and sertraline
  • Duloxetine, nefazodone, and venlafaxine

The next information here is a genuine concern for both you and your baby, please read with care.
Expectant mothers who took SSRIs had serious results. The children were seriously underweight and there were problems with adaptation. Some of the Mothers of these babies were drinking, smoking, or taking drugs for mental disorders. One out of three children had tremors, convulsions, irritability, and frequent crying complications.

You may not need medication for symptoms of depression, but check with a psychologist, or psychiatrist to be sure. If needed, they will find the right medicine for you.

Consult your doctor when you wish to stop taking antidepressants. They will explain to you how to safely stop taking them.

Can Depression Medication Harm a Fetus?

The use of antidepressant medication during pregnancy is a hotly debated issue. Researchers and doctors have been studying this issue for many years and have found that, when used during pregnancy, antidepressants do have an effect on a growing fetus. There are studies that show that a fetus exposed to SSRIs during pregnancy may be at an increased risk of congenital malformations (birth defects), low birth weight, and a variety of neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, there are also some studies that show no increased risk of birth defects or neurodevelopmental disorders in babies exposed to SSRIs.

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Depending on the type of antidepressant, side effects can vary. However, many of the side effects of antidepressants are serious and may affect the health of both the woman and her baby. These side effects include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleepiness or drowsiness
  • Weight gain
  • Increased risk of bleeding or bruising
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Changes in blood sugar levels
  • Decreased libido or sexual dysfunction
  • Increased risk of birth defects in children if taken during the first trimester of pregnancy
  • Decreased fetal movement in the third trimester of pregnancy
  • Infection
  • Decreased fetal movement in the third trimester of pregnancy

Natural Therapies for Anxiety During Pregnancy

If you are experiencing anxiety during pregnancy, it is important to speak to your doctor about the best ways to manage your symptoms. There are a number of natural remedies for anxiety during pregnancy that can help you to feel more relaxed and in control of your emotions. 

Some helpful choices include:

  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Staying hydrated
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Eating a healthy and balanced diet
  • Talking to a friend or loved one
  • Exercising regularly
  • Staying hydrated


When making the decision to use antidepressants during pregnancy, it is important to keep in mind that they are not 100% safe. Therefore, you should always discuss the risks and benefits of taking antidepressants with your doctor. If you are struggling with anxiety during pregnancy, it is important to speak to your doctor as soon as possible. The sooner your doctor diagnoses and treats your anxiety, the easier it will be to manage your symptoms. For many women, anxiety during pregnancy is a temporary condition. For others, it can be a chronic condition throughout their pregnancies and beyond. Regardless of how long your anxiety lasts, there are many effective treatments available. If you are experiencing anxiety during pregnancy, it is important to speak to your doctor about the best ways to manage your symptoms.

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