Stopping meds during pregnancy does not increase risk of depression

September 9, 2011 By Bill Hathaway

(Medical Xpress) -- Women who discontinue using antidepressants during pregnancy do not appear to have greater risk of having a depressive episode during and after term than those who continue using medications, a new Yale University study shows.

The new study published online September 8 and scheduled to appear in the November print issue of the journal Epidemiology followed a group of women who were seeking , through and into the . A sub-group of 778 women had a history of depression and decided individually whether to continue or discontinue antidepressant medication.  The researchers found that generally, there was no difference in the risk of having a major between women who continued taking medication and those who did not.

"Women often know if they can discontinue medication because they have intimate experience of what happens when they stop treatment.  We think that the women who felt they could stop treatment, temporarily did so and generally remained well," said Kimberly Yonkers, professor of psychiatry and obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences, and lead author of the report.

On the other hand, women who had suffered four or more major depressive episodes prior to their pregnancy were likely to experience depression during pregnancy whether or not they were taking .

"Those women should carefully consider their options. There were women with severe illness who felt they could not stop medication, and they continued treatment in pregnancy.  This group had a high rate of relapse into depression but it might have been even higher if they stopped their treatment," Yonkers said.

The Yale team is currently analyzing effects of antidepressant use on the health of babies born to depressed mothers.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Can nicotine protect the aging brain?

September 20, 2016

Everyone knows that tobacco products are bad for your health, and even the new e-cigarettes may have harmful toxins. However, according to research at Texas A&M, it turns out the nicotine itself—when given independently ...

Science can shape healthy city planning

September 23, 2016

Previous studies have shown a correlation between the design of cities and growing epidemics of injuries and non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. A three-part series published in The Lancet ...

50-country comparison of child and youth fitness levels

September 21, 2016

An international research team co-led from the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and the University of North Dakota studied the aerobic fitness levels of children and youth across 50 countries. The results are ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.