Use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during pregnancy has been under fire as a result of recent medical study and research that suggests potential side effects associated with taking the anti-depressants. Researchers from The Motherisk Program in Toronto published a study in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada on the impact of using fluoxetine during the first trimester of pregnancy. The first trimester begins before most women know they are pregnant. In cases of unplanned pregnancy, the fetus will come in contact with SSRIs if the mother is being treated.

After reviewing 21 published studies on the impact of fluoxetine on pregnancy and the fetus, researchers found no increased risk of fetal malformations, despite reports to the contrary. Researchers believe reports of complications like cardiac malformations may be based on bias. The overall risk of major fetal complications with the use of SSRIs was 1.12 – not significantly higher than pregnant women who do not take SSRIs during pregnancy.

Source: Riggin L, Frankel Z, Moretti M, Pupco A, Koren G. The fetal safety of fluoxetine: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2013 Apr;35(4):362-9.

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