Background: Exposure to antidepressants during the third trimester of pregnancy has been associated with an increased risk for adverse birth outcomes, including preterm birth, respiratory distress, and hypoglycemia.
Objective: To investigate neonatal outcomes in 997 infants (987 mothers) after maternal use of antidepressants based on prospectively recorded information in antenatal care documents.
Results: An increased risk for preterm birth (odds ratio [OR], 1.96) and low birth weight (OR, 1.98) was verified, but the gestational week-specific birth weight was increased notably after exposure to tricyclic antidepressants. An increased risk for a low Apgar score (OR, 2.33), respiratory distress (OR, 2.21), neonatal convulsions (OR,1.90), and hypoglycemia (OR, 1.62) was found, the latter especially after exposure to tricyclic drugs, but no significant effect on the frequency of neonatal jaundice was seen (OR, 1.13). Most effects seemed not to be selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor drug specific, and outcomes after exposure to paroxetine hydrochloride were not worse than after exposure to other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
Conclusions: Neonatal effects after maternal use of antidepressant drugs during late pregnancy were seen. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may be the drugs of choice during pregnancy.