Depression is one of the most common conditions women suffer from during their pregnancy and the unanswered questions about the prescribed antidepressants can make for an even more unsettling nine months.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), like Paxil, are the most commonly prescribed antidepressants for pregnant women and have been known to cause some withdrawal symptoms. Initially thought that defects in fetuses were only linked to the heart and lungs, recent studies have shown connections to more life-altering effects of SSRI use.
The FDA has provided break downs that categorize SSRIs based on information found in studies and information provided by the drug companies. This break-down of drugs used during pregnancy measures side effects ranging from categories A, B, C, D and X – A classifies safe drugs, while X includes drugs that have shown the potential for birth injuries and defects if taken by pregnant women.
Most SSRIs fall under category C, which indicates that they are neither safe nor unsafe when used during pregnancy, an unsettling fact for many pregnant women.
The most studied SSRI is Paxil, a category D which illustrates that there is evidence of fetal risk though there is still some indication that the benefits may warrant drug use even if taken during pregnancy. It is recommended by the American College of Obstericians and Gynecologists that Paxil be avoided, if possible, by pregnant women or women planning to become pregnant to reduce the potential risk of harm to the unborn child.
It’s a difficult decision future mothers are faced with every day. Taking the medication to prevent depression seems logical but at the risk of harming the unborn child leaves many women torn.
Mothers naturally feel a sense of guilt if their child is born with injuries/defects, as they understand these conditions to be entirely their fault.
This guilt needs to be redirected and understood to be an issue of the product provider who failed to disclose potential risks and side effects if used by pregnant women.
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