According to a report published Monday in Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, pregnant women taking antidepressants, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) including Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil, have an increased chance of giving birth to children diagnosed with autism.
The recent study found that children whose mothers took antidepressants during the second or third trimester of pregnancy were 87% more likely to be diagnosed with autism.
"Use of antidepressants, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, during the second and/or third trimester increases the risk of autism spectrum disease in children, even after considering maternal depression," Anick Berard of the University of Montreal and colleagues wrote in their report.
While researching 145,456 children born in Quebec between 1998 and 2009, the study found roughly 4,700 babies, or 3% of the total group, whose mothers took prescribed antidepressants during their pregnancies. In a recent interview with ResearchGate, Berard explained, “Indeed, 80-85 percent of depressed pregnant women are mildly to moderately depressed; exercise and psychotherapy have been shown to be efficacious to treat depression in this sub-group. Therefore, we acknowledge that depression is a serious condition but that antidepressants are not always the best solution.”
Comparing rates of autism among babies born to women with a history of depression with autism rates among children born to those who took antidepressants during pregnancy, the researchers found that babies whose mothers took an SSRI were about 75% more likely to get an autism diagnosis than those whose mothers had a history of depression.
“Depression needs to be treated during pregnancy but with something other than antidepressants in the majority of cases,” Berard explained. “Our study is not out to scare women. It’s 2015 and women can make informed decisions, but they need to have evidence-based data. A discussion with their physician is warranted in order to fully consider all treatment options.”
Oddly enough, on the JAMA Twitter page, they released a tweet boasting their study showing no association between MMR and Autism on the same day they broke the study linking SSRI to Autism. The failed to tweet out this latest study at all.
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To believe that a pill can affect one’s serotonin levels without affecting their unborn child’s brain is wishful thinking at best. But “wishful thinking” has simply become a euphemism for denial.
Both parents must accept the ethical and moral implications of raising a child destined to suffer, contemplate the meaning of its own existence, and die. Although depression is a gift that no parent wishes to burden their child with, taking antidepressants during pregnancy has either become a mad experiment or an avaricious enterprise willing to sacrifice the minds of future generations for short-term profits.
According to the study, most pregnant women feel depressed. In fact, part of our humanity involves the self-reflection and concern for raising an unborn child in a cruel, apathetic world surrounded by strangers and hopefully, loved ones. Although the pharmaceutical industry offers pregnant women a myriad of false solutions, no mother should sacrifice her child’s health for a few fleeting moments of artificial contentment.