A group of researchers from Columbia University Medical Center and the University of Turku in Finland published a report on a joint study on the effects of antidepressants taken by pregnant women on children's health. Scientists have found that mothers who have taken selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs - drugs most often used to treat depression and anxiety disorders) are much more likely to have babies with speech problems - for example, they cannot make certain sounds or have difficulty master new words.
SSRIs increase the amount of serotonin in the brain, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for pleasure and happiness. Side effects (drowsiness, nausea, anorgasmia) may be associated with these drugs and are considered normal. However, new studies have shown that pregnant women should be wary of antidepressants - apparently, SSRIs can cross the placenta and affect the fetus. It is known that many things that are relatively easily tolerated by the mother, such as alcohol, nicotine or viral infections, can negatively affect the baby in the womb. The authors of the study argue that antidepressants are also dangerous to the fetus.
The head of the research team advised pregnant women with depression to discuss with a psychiatrist the possibility of switching to alternative treatments. Scientists have yet to figure out exactly how SSRIs affect the fetus, and until then, experts recommend weighing the risks to the health of the mother and child in each case.