Depression During Pregnancy and Postpartum

Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2016 Mar;18(3):32. doi: 10.1007/s11920-016-0664-7.


Depression is a common complication of pregnancy and the postpartum period. There are multiple risk factors for peripartum mood disorders, most important of which is a prior history of depression. Both depression and antidepressant medications confer risk upon the infant. Maternal depression has been associated with preterm birth, low birth weight, fetal growth restriction, and postnatal cognitive and emotional complications. Antidepressant exposure has been associated with preterm birth, reductions in birth weight, persistent pulmonary hypertension, and postnatal adaptation syndrome (PNAS) as well as a possible connection with autism spectrum disorder. Paroxetine has been associated with cardiac malformations. Most antidepressant medications are excreted in low levels in breast milk and are generally compatible with breastfeeding. The use of antidepressants during pregnancy and postpartum must be weighed against the risk of untreated depression in the mother.

Keywords: Antidepressants; Depression; Lactation; Postpartum depression; Pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Breast Feeding / psychology*
  • Depression / drug therapy
  • Depression / psychology
  • Depression, Postpartum / drug therapy
  • Depression, Postpartum / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Postpartum Period / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / drug therapy
  • Pregnancy Complications / psychology*


  • Antidepressive Agents