(NaturalNews) Autism, birth defects, persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) -- these are among the many serious health conditions newborn babies face whose mothers take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and certain other antidepressant drugs during pregnancy. The side effects of SSRIs are so serious for pregnant women, in fact, that two prominent doctors recently came forward with warnings to pregnant women against taking the drugs, which can cause potentially deadly complications for both unborn babies and their mothers.
Dr. Adam Urato, an obstetrician and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham, Massachusetts, and his colleague Dr. Alice Domar, a psychologist and assistant professor at Harvard Medical Center, conducted a systematic review of available literature on antidepressant use during pregnancy, which they published in the journal Human Reproduction. They found that, based on the science, antidepressants provide no benefits for pregnant women, but present a whole lot of potential complications.
Besides their uselessness, antidepressants were found to put unborn babies at serious risk of developing a myriad health conditions, including but not limited to heart defects, anencephaly, cleft lip and palate, PPHN, and respiratory distress. In regards to PPHN, an unborn baby's risk of developing the condition is six times higher when the mother takes SSRIs compared to babies born to mothers who do not take SSRIs, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).
"Study after study shows increased rates of newborn complications in those babies who were exposed to SSRIs in utero," said Dr. Urato to the U.K.'s Telegraph about the findings. "The (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) and Health Canada have put out warnings specifically regarding this issue," he added, referencing a 2005 warning put out by the FDA that said taking SSRIs made with paroxetine, which includes the drug Paxil, during the first trimester of pregnancy could cause birth defects or heart problems.
According to the authors, at least 40 different published studies link SSRI use during pregnancy to premature birth, which in and of itself is linked to a bounty of illnesses and health conditions. And as far as the mother is concerned, taking SSRIs during pregnancy can cause her to develop high blood pressure, liver problems, and stroke, and may even result in a stillbirth.
"Antidepressant use during pregnancy is associated with increased risks of miscarriage, birth defects, preterm birth, newborn behavioral syndrome, (PPHN), and possible longer term neurobehavioral effects," wrote the authors in their study. "There is no evidence of improved pregnancy outcomes with antidepressant use."