Depression happens before, during and after pregnancy, but conclusive research on the impact of untreated depression/anxiety versus the impact of antidepressants on pregnancy is not sufficient, according to researchers from various departments in the University of Massachusetts medical school and UMass Medical Center.
Study authors gathered data from studies published on Medline and PubMed; they specifically looked for reports of PNAS (postnatal adaptation syndrome) and PPHN (persistent pulmonary hypertension) associated with exposure to antidepressants in-utero.
About 30% of infants exposed to antidepressants in-utero showed signs of PNAS, but the results of the studies were inconsistent.
Conclusion: Exposure to antidepressants in-utero may cause PNAS. While the signs of PNAS occured in a significant percentage of infants born to mothers who used medications during pregnancy, the impact of not treating depression also needs to be taken into consideration. Researchers suggest evaluating women on a case-by-case basis. Individuals should be treated with various factors in mind, including patient preference, medical trials and previous experiences during pregnancy.
Source: Byatt N, Deligiannidis KM, Freeman MP. Antidepressant use in pregnancy: a critical review focused on risks and controversies. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2013 Feb;127(2):94-114. doi: 10.1111/acps.12042. Epub 2012 Dec 14.