Increasing use of antidepressants in pregnancy

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2007 Jun;196(6):544.e1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2007.01.033.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to quantify the rate of exposures to antidepressants during pregnancy in a large cohort of women.

Study design: This was a retrospective cohort study of 105,335 pregnancies among women enrolled in Tennessee Medicaid from 1999-2003. Pregnancies were classified according to antidepressant exposures during pregnancy using previously validated computerized pharmacy records linked with birth certificates.

Results: During the study period, 8.7% of women giving birth had exposure to any antidepressant; 6.2% had exposure to a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Maternal age > 25 years (P < .0001), white race (P < .0001), and education > 12 years (P = .008) were significant predictors of antidepressant exposure. The proportion of pregnancies with antidepressant use increased from 5.7% of pregnancies in 1999 to 13.4% of pregnancies in 2003 (p < .0001). The increase was mostly accounted for by increases in selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor exposures.

Conclusion: There is an urgent need for further studies that better quantify the fetal consequences of exposure to antidepressants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / drug therapy
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Maternal Age
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Tennessee
  • White People


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors