Antidepressants & Pregnancy: Are the Benefits Worth the Risk?
Motherhood is a journey riddled with impossible decisions and leaving things up to both fate and faith. However, for mothers diagnosed with depression and/or anxiety prior to pregnancy, the decisions can sometimes feel unbearable. According to the Mayo Clinic, “14 to 23 percent of all pregnant women experience depression during pregnancy” (2016). The purpose of this evidenced based practice brief is to analyze if pregnant women who take an antidepressant during pregnancy at a greater risk for fetal complications compared to women who do not take an antidepressant. This will be accomplished by comparing the health of the unborn infants of mothers prescribed an antidepressant and decide to continue pharmacological treatment, to the health of the fetuses whose mothers decide to discontinue their medication during the span of their pregnancy. It is common for women to be prescribed antidepressants, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), to help manage their battle with depression and/or anxiety. This systematic review will delve into the both the risks and benefits to the health of unborn infants in regards to the mother’s decision to continue or discontinue taking their prescribed antidepressant during their pregnancy.