More pregnant women on anti-depressants

The prescribing of anti-depressants to pregnant women has risen

The number of women taking anti-depressants has dramatically risen over the last 15 years, a study suggests.

Researchers at University College London found that the proportion of pregnancies in which anti-depressants were prescribed increased four-fold between 1992 and 2006, from 0.8% to 3.3%.

Anti-depressants can harm newborn babies if they cross the placenta. Drugs such as Seroxat (paroxetine) have been linked with congenital malformations.

However, many pregnant women didn’t actually finish the full course of anti-depressants, and less than one woman in five continued to take the drugs for their whole pregnancy. Scientists said that not completing the course of drugs carried its own risks because of the possibility women might be left at risk of post-natal depression.

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