Psychotropics During Pregnancy Raise Risk of Babies with Low Birth Weight, Hospitalizations


The use by mothers of any of four major classes of psychiatric medications during pregnancy significantly raises the risk that their babies will be born with low birth weights and will need to be hospitalized, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

The team of French researchers examined records and conducted interviews with 1,071 mothers in France, and found that nearly half (40.2%) had used at least 1 psychotropic drug during pregnancy. Adjusting for other confounding factors, they found that taking mood stabilizers doubled the risk of having a child with low birth weight, and taking an antipsychotic, an antidepressant or an anxiolytic/hypnotic raised the risk of neonatal hospitalization by a factor of 1.74, 1.59 and 1.89 respectively.

“Infants exposed to psychotropic drugs during pregnancy have less optimal neonatal outcome than unexposed infants and should be considered as a high-risk population,” the researchers concluded.

Sutter-Dallay, Anne-Laure, Mélanie Bales, Elodie Pambrun, Nine M.-C. Glangeaud-Freudenthal, Katherine L. Wisner, and Hélène Verdoux. “Impact of Prenatal Exposure to Psychotropic Drugs on Neonatal Outcome in Infants of Mothers With Serious Psychiatric Illnesses.” The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, March 31, 2015. doi:10.4088/JCP.14m09070. (Abstract)


  1. 40% is an amazing (and depressing number). Pregnant women should not be prescribed almost any drugs unless there is dire need for that (like a real illness, not DSM bs). The fact that any relatively healthy babies are born from mothers on these drugs is remarkable anyway.

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    • There is increasing evidence that SSRI use during pregnancy increases the risk of autism. Autism rates have skyrocketed in the years since SSRIs were introduced. I’m sure it’s not the only reason, but I have to believe it’s a contributing factor.

      — Steve

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