On categorizing gestational, birth, and neonatal complications following late pregnancy exposure to antidepressants: the prenatal antidepressant exposure syndrome

CNS Spectr. 2010 Mar;15(3):167-85. doi: 10.1017/s1092852900027449.


Introduction: Late in utero exposure to antidepressants has been suspected of adversely impacting pregnancy outcome and compromising neonatal adaptation. Hence, the necessity exists to analyze published information on antidepressant use during late pregnancy to individuate potential recurrent patterns of iatrogenic complications.

Methods: Computerized searches on MEDLINE, PsycINFO, ENBASE, and Cochrane Library through February 10, 2010 were performed for selecting literature information and investigating the safety of antidepressants when used during late pregnancy.

Results: Antidepressant treatment during late pregnancy may increase the rates of poor pregnancy outcome and neonatal withdrawal/toxic reactions.

Conclusions: Because both gestational complications and neonatal adverse events acknowledge the same etiology, the author suggests including such iatrogenic events under the definition of prenatal antidepressant exposure syndrome, in order to increase clinicians' awareness about the spectrum of risks which may concern the mother-infant pair when antidepressant treatment is deemed indispensable during late pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn / physiology*
  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / chemically induced*
  • Pregnancy Complications / psychology
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Third
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Serotonin Syndrome / psychology


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors