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Use of Antidepressants during pregnancy can increase risk of autism in babies

SSRI stands for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and are present in common antidepressant medications like Prozac and Zoloft. In many countries, including the United States, medications that contain SSRIs are some of the most widely prescribed and have an ever-increasing rate of use.

Since 2001 the use of antidepressants by women ages 20 or older in the US has increased by 29%. Due to the research that suggests that depression will be the leading cause of death by 2020 the increased use of antidepressants is projected to continue in coming years.

Based on this research on the increased use of antidepressants a study recently published in JAMA Pediatrics is especially terrifying. These researchers found that the use of medications that contain SSRIs during pregnancy can increase a child’s risk for autism. The research shows that women who take medication that contain SSRIs in the second and third trimesters increased their child’s risk for autism by up to 87%.

The researchers did not identify a concrete reason for this increased risk, but they did offer a theory. The most probable theory is that the SSRI compounds that show up in a woman’s amniotic fluid if they are on the medication while pregnant cause a build up of serotonin in the space between the cells in the baby’s brain. This build up of serotonin can have extremely negative effects on the early cellular development of the baby.

While this research should be carefully considered only more research will determine the severity of this information.

Article by: Mackenzie Yeager

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