Respiratory depression in a neonate born to mother on maximum dose sertraline: a case report

J Med Case Rep. 2021 Feb 19;15(1):88. doi: 10.1186/s13256-020-02640-1.


Background: Mood and anxiety disorders are common in women of childbearing age, especially during the peripartum period. As more women seek medical management for these conditions, there is an increasing need for studies to better examine the effects of exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and other antidepressants, on newborns at the time of delivery.

Case presentation: We report the case of a term Caucasian infant born to a 17-year-old white female taking 100 mg of sertraline daily for depression and anxiety who exhibited respiratory depression and hypoxia after an uncomplicated vaginal delivery. The neonate was treated with the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and supplemental oxygen and subsequently the symptoms resolved without complication.

Conclusions: We present this case with the suspicion of poor neonatal adjustment syndrome as the possible cause of the respiratory depression and hypoxia in this newborn.

Keywords: Neonatal adjustment syndrome; Neonatal exposure; Perinatal; Sertraline.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antidepressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mothers
  • Respiratory Insufficiency*
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Sertraline* / adverse effects


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Sertraline