Antidepressant use while pregnant may affect baby's brain development

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Researchers believe that the first-line treatment for depression and anxiety should be non-pharmacological interventions.

When you’re pregnant, everything that goes in and on your body must be examined closely before use, preferably with the go-signal of your doctor—medications in particular.

In a recent study, researchers found that use of antidepressants during pregnancy affects newborn’s brain activity, this on top of the fetal and developmental complications antidepressants can also cause.

Because of drugs’ possible effects to the fetal brain function, researchers believe that preventive medication should be critically evaluated. The first-line treatment for depression and anxiety should also be non-pharmacological interventions.

"We found many changes in the brain activity of SRI-exposed newborns," said Sampsa Vanhatalo of the Helsinki University Children's Hospital. "Since the changes did not correlate with the mother's psychiatric symptoms, we have assumed that they resulted as a side effect of maternal drug treatment."

The study’s behaviuoral and neurological assessments of the newborns showed minor effects from fetal SRI exposure. But there were also differences in brain electrical activity between focus groups.

“The most important relate to less-organised communication between brain hemispheres, as well as weaker synchronisation between cortical rhythms,” said a Deccan Chronicle report. “These findings did not correlate with the scores on maternal depression or anxiety.”

Sampsa Vanhatalo added: "We hope that our study will facilitate the current international discussion and search for effective alternatives in the treatment of depression and anxiety during pregnancy.”

 

Are you suffering from depression?

Depression is not a serious medical condition, not something that simply passes or goes away on its own. It’s more than having the blues or being sad.

People who suffer from depression are unable to live their daily lives like an average person. In severe cases, their depression cripples them so much that they finally decide to take their own lives. That is why in such cases the help of a medical professional is needed.

According to Help Guide, the common symptoms of depression include:

  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
  • Loss of interest in daily activities. No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
  • Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
  • Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping.
  • Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.

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Written by

James Martinez

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