Study: Taking antidepressants during pregnancy may lead to autism in children

Study: Taking antidepressants during pregnancy may lead to autism in children

A recent study shows that taking antidepressants during pregnancy can lead to autism disorder in the baby. Read on to know how to tackle the issue.

If an expecting mother takes antidepressants during her second or the third trimester of pregnancy, she may risk having a child with autism disorder, says a study published in JAMA Pediatrics.

Prof Anick Berard, who is an expert in the field of pharmaceutical safety during pregnancy came to this conclusion after reviewing over 145,456 pregnancies. They conducted the study over a period of 10 years.

Speaking to sciencedaily.com, Prof Berard said, “Amongst all the children in the study, we then identified which children had been diagnosed with a form of autism by looking at hospital records indicating diagnosed childhood autism, atypical autism, Asperger’s syndrome, or a pervasive developmental disorder. Finally, we looked for a statistical association between the two groups, and found a very significant one: an 87 percent increased risk.”

The studies explained its figures through the following findings:

  • If antidepressants are taken during the brain development phase of the foetus, it can severely affect the child’s growth, thereby, also causing autism disorder.
  • If the medications inhibit serotonin, it will negatively impact the brain of the foetus.

However, the study does not answer an important question: should expecting mothers take antidepressants!

The World Health Organisation says that depression will be the leading cause of deaths by 2020. This indicates that antidepressants will continue to be prescribed by medical practitioners, including during pregnancy.

What is depression during pregnancy?

Depression during pregnancy or antepartum depression is a clinical disorder that involves changes in brain chemistry. During pregnancy, several hormonal changes can effect chemical changes in your brain that are related to anxiety and depression.

Symptoms of antepartum depression

Keep an eye on the following sings and symptoms to track depression during pregnancy:

  • Feeling of sadness
  • Difficulty in concentration
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Recurring thoughts of suicide and hopelessness
  • Feeling of worthlessness and guilt
  • Oversleeping
  • Drastic change in eating habits

Tips for expecting mothers going through depression

We all know that pregnancy comes with its fair share of joy, excitement and for some people depression. Fortunately, depression during pregnancy can be cured through psychotherapy, yoga and even meditation.

depression during pregnancy

Daily exercise along with yoga and change in diet and nutrition can help cope with depression during pregnancy

Apart from these, you could also try the following methods to get over a depressive state of mind:

  • Exercise: Daily exercise increases the serotonin levels in the body and decreases cortisol (the stress hormone) levels
  • Adequate rest: Get adequate rest because lack of sleep greatly affects the min and body’s ability to handle stress and anxiety.
  • Diet and nutrition: You can avoid foods that include caffeine, processed carbohydrates, sugar and artificial additives. Include green vegetables and antioxidants in your diet.
  • Yoga and meditation: This form of exercise can be extremely beneficial to expecting mothers. It corrects posture, increases blood circulation and oxygen flow, reduces stress and above all, makes labour a wee bit easier.

Depression during pregnancy is not difficult to tackle if you change your lifestyle and adopt a healthy change in food and physical activity.

If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the topic, please share them in our Comment box below.

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Written by

Shu Yi Ho

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