When is medical treatment for major depressive disorder (clinical depression) indicated during pregnancy?

Updated: Mar 28, 2019
  • Author: Jerry L Halverson, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

Although avoiding the use of medication during pregnancy is preferable, the benefits of prompt medical treatment of major depressive disorder may often outweigh the risks of exposure of the fetus to an antidepressant. One meta-analysis found that the possible risks of untreated peripartum depression include increased risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, slower head growth, and intrauterine growth restriction. [194] There is no clear evidence that available antidepressants are teratogenic.


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