The newer SSRI class of antidepressants such as Prozac and Paxil are generally considered safer for all people than older tricyclic drugs such as Elavil and Pamelor. However, the results of a study released by “Human Reproduction” in fall 2012 reveal that pregnant women should strongly consider not taking any antidepressants while expecting.
The importance of treating mental illnesses among all women, especially those who are pregnant and have a history of serious depression, cannot be denied, notes the study. However, in most cases even SSRI antidepressants can cause much more harm than good. Miscarriages, low birth weights, premature birth, and behavioral problems in newborns have been linked to antidepressant use during pregnancy.
The study warns that women with severe depression who have experienced issues such as suicide attempts or not getting out of bed should work closely with a doctor and not necessarily stop antidepressant treatment. However, medical experts are concerned about women with mild or moderate cases of depression or anxiety who continue antidepressants during pregnancy and cause unnecessary risk to their unborn children.
Herbal supplements such as St. John’s Wort could be even more dangerous to pregnant women than prescription drugs, so trading one remedy for another is generally not a good idea. Some medications used to treat anxiety and depression such as Ativan, Xanax, Ambien, Valium, Halcion, and Klonopin should be entirely avoided during pregnancy. However, no one especially an expectant mother should suddenly stop any medication especially without medical assistance. Suddenly stopping even non-narcotic drugs like Prozac can cause a host of potentially serious side effects which could put an unborn child at unnecessary risk.