Navigation Link
Depression: Depression & Related Conditions
Basic Information
Introduction and Types of Depressive DisordersRelated Disorders / ConditionsHistorical and Current UnderstandingsBiology, Psychology and SociologyTreatment - Medication and PsychotherapyAlternative Medicine and Self-Help ResourcesSpecial IssuesReferences
More InformationTestsLatest News
Mom-to-Be's Antidepressants Tied to Kids' Psychiatric WoesToo Many New Mothers Silent on Postpartum Depression1 in 5 Moms Mum About Post-Pregnancy BluesGoogle Search for 'Depression' Now to Provide Screening TestAre Depressed Teens Prone to Violence?Antidepressants Used by 12.7 Percent of Those Age ≥12 in U.S.U.S. Antidepressant Use Jumps 65 Percent in 15 YearsSmoking During Pregnancy Up Among Women With DepressionDepression After Coronary Artery Disease Diagnosis Ups Death RiskYoga May Help Ease DepressionToo Soon to Widely Recommend Ketamine for DepressionLonger Estrogen Exposure May Protect Against DepressionEstrogen May Influence Women's Depression RiskLosing Medicaid Tough on People Battling Depression: StudyLink for Maternal Antidepressant, Kids' Brain Health QuestionedAddition of Aripiprazole Ups Major Depressive Disorder RemissionNo Sign That Antidepressants in Pregnancy Harm Kids' Brains: StudyMed Switch Not Always Best Choice With Tough DepressionDepression Contributes to Health Decline Seen in Cancer CaregiversDepression May Worsen Health for Cancer CaregiversElectric Brain Stimulation No Better Than Meds For Depression: StudyDepression Inversely Linked to Body Composition in TeensReview: Depression Screening As Inpatient Important, FeasibleDepression Can Slow Hospital Patients' Recovery: StudyAntidepressants During Pregnancy Safe for Baby: StudyChronic Pain Common in Adults With Depression, AnxietyWhat You Need to Know About AntidepressantsAPA: Internet-Based CBT Can Be Helpful in DepressionCan Online Treatment Replace Your Therapist?Depression Often a Precursor to Falls in Elderly PeopleOverweight in Childhood May Up Lifetime Risk of DepressionHeavy Kids Face Triple the Odds for Depression in AdulthoodObesity, Sex Predict Remission for Antidepressant MedicationsGender Differences in Depression Tend to Appear About Age 12Depression's Gender Gap Shows Up in Pre-Teen YearsStudies Question Link Between Mom's Antidepressant Use, Autism in KidsMortality Up With Depression Just Before Breast Cancer DiagnosisDepressive Disorders Up With Antimuscarinics for OABTrauma as a Teen May Boost Depression Risk Around MenopauseBlood Test Promising for ID of Early Depression, SchizophreniaBlood Test Might Someday Distinguish Early Depression, SchizophreniaHold That Pose: Yoga May Ease Tough DepressionDepression May Hasten Death in Years After Heart DiagnosisAntidepressant Efficacy Varies for Depressive Symptom ClustersDepressed Psoriasis Patients at Higher Risk of Psoriatic ArthritisInternet-Based CBT Effective for Depressive SymptomsCan Depression Up Odds for Arthritis Linked to Psoriasis?Postpartum Depressive Symptoms Fell in 2004 to 2012Hey Fellas, Depression Can Strike New Dads, TooDepression Often Untreated in Dialysis Patients
Questions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Anxiety Disorders
Bipolar Disorder
Addictions: Alcohol and Substance Abuse
Pain Management

Mom-to-Be's Antidepressant Use May Be Tied to Speech Issues in Child

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Oct 12th 2016

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 12, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Children whose mothers used an often-prescribed type of antidepressant during pregnancy may be more likely to develop speech and language disorders, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that mothers who bought selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drugs at least twice during pregnancy were 37 percent more likely to have a child with a speech and/or language disorder than those who did not take the antidepressants.

SSRIs include medicines such as Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft.

The study was observational, meaning it couldn't prove that the drugs helped cause the language/speech problems, only that there was an association. And experts who reviewed the findings stressed that women who require an SSRI during their pregnancy may still want to stick with the drug.

"It must be remembered that the prevalence of speech-language disorders was very low in all of the offspring studied -- including those infants exposed to SSRIs prenatally," said Dr. Andrew Adesman. He's chief of child, developmental & behavioral pediatrics at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

According to Adesman, "even if follow-up studies confirm that use of SSRIs during pregnancy modestly increase the risk of these offspring having a speech-language disorder, it is important to note that depression -- if untreated during pregnancy -- also poses significant risks to the mother."

The new study was led by Dr. Alan Brown, professor of epidemiology and psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. His team tracked data on more than 845,000 births in Finland between 1996 and 2010. The children were followed to age 3.

The study found that mothers who bought SSRI drugs at least twice during their pregnancy were 37 percent more likely to have a child with a speech and/or language disorder than those who did not take the antidepressants.

There was no link between SSRI use in pregnancy and the risk of either motor (movement) disorders or academic performance in children.

SSRIs are increasingly used during pregnancy to treat depression and other psychiatric disorders, the study authors noted, but they can cross the placenta and reach the fetus.

"To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the relationship between maternal antidepressant use and speech/language, scholastic, and motor disorders in offspring," Brown said in a Columbia news release.

He stressed that a cause-and-effect relationship could not be proven, and other factors might explain the observed link.

For example, "the severity of maternal depression cannot be ruled out as an explanation for the increased childhood speech and language disorders" in children whose mothers took an SSRI, Brown said.

Adesman agreed that the issue is a complex one, and pregnant women shouldn't immediately stop taking an antidepressant based on these findings.

"Women who are taking SSRIs for depression and who are planning to get pregnant should discuss the risks and benefits of staying on their SSRI medication with their health care provider," Adesman said. He was not involved with the new study.

Dr. Jennifer Wu is an obstetrician/gynecologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She agreed with Adesman, saying that "the important thing to remember is that the overall risk of speech and language disorders [for any child] is still very small."

She also stressed that an effective antidepressant is often essential for some women, so any risk to offspring "must be weighed against the risks of untreated depression. Mothers at risk for severe depression and suicide may not be able to stop their SSRIs."

The study was partially funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and was published online Oct. 12 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

More information

The U.S. Office on Women's Health has more on pregnancy and medicines.