People are very ignorant when linking pregnancy, depression and antidepressants calling mothers to be that are on anti-depression medications while pregnant selfish, bad mothers, weak etc. Antidepressants are not just a happy pill and depression is something that can be kicked away by the willpower. There is a big struggle going on when a woman decides whether she will stay on antidepressants while being pregnant, and this is not a decision that can be made easily, but only with a consultation of physician, obgyn and physiatrist.
Recently a study was conducted at the University of Montreal and published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that linked a group of antidepressants to a higher rate for miscarriages. The study reports that two SSRI class antidepressants - Paxil and Effexor are associated with the greater risk of having a miscarriage. The research was based on data from Quebec pregnancy registry of 69,742 women and their births and miscarriages at hospitals in the Quebec province. 5,124 of women included had suffered miscarriages and among women who had miscarried, 5.5% had taken at least one antidepressant during pregnancy, compared with 2.7% of the control group.
After applying control for other risk factors involved researchers determined that antidepressant users had a 68% higher risk of miscarriage than those women who weren't on antidepressants. Additionally, women who combined two or more classes of antidepressants were at a higher risk. However, being depressed during pregnancy has its own risks, and women who suffer from depression during pregnancy are at increased risk of miscarrying, premature births or low-birth-weight babies, and their infants are at increased risk of irritability, having sleep related problems and high blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol. It is important to bring out that up to 25% women experience symptoms of depression during pregnancy, and according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 13% of women took an antidepressant at some point during pregnancy.
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggest that women with severe depression should stay on medication while pregnant, but this is decision that should be consulted with woman's health providers. A depressed woman during pregnancy must weight not only the severity of the depression, but also a history of miscarriages before she (and her doctor) decide whether continuing antidepressants should be the right choice. Whatever she decides decide, she must pay attention to continue some sort of treatment during her pregnancy and of course gets as much support and family and friends as possible.