Antidepressant Use in Pregnancy Harms Child Development, Untreated Maternal Depression Shows Benefit

In this new study, exposure to maternal anxiety in utero also harmed child development.


A new study found that children exposed in utero to maternal depression actually had better problem-solving abilities than their peers. However, kids whose mothers took antidepressants had impaired fine motor skills. Kids exposed in utero to maternal anxiety were more likely to have difficulty with communication and gross motor skills.

This contradicts the accepted wisdom that untreated maternal depression is harmful to children. Instead, it suggests that treating maternal depression is detrimental to kids, while maternal depression itself is actually associated with benefits to child development.

The researchers found that one in five children was exposed to antidepressants in utero (20.8%), indicating that a large proportion of children are being exposed to the drugā€™s harmful effects on development.

Narimene Ait Belkacem and Anick BĆ©rard led the study at the University of Montreal, Canada. It was conducted during the pandemic and published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine.

Ā ā€œThis study aimed to assess the exposure to prenatal maternal mental health (depression, anxiety, and overall pandemic-related stress) in utero, during the COVID-19 pandemic on childrenā€™s development at 18 months,ā€ the researchers write.

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  1. Sadly, many females who are pregnant are not supported by society as they should be before, during and after pregnancy which causes many of the issues they have. We need to realize pregnant females are more delicate than other people. I am not trying to insult them, I want them to be well taken care of.

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  2. If a pregnant mom is self-aware of depression and talking to a therapist about it and appearing to benefit from therapy alone, is that correlated with assets in the mothers’ lives that are already correlated with the birth of healthy babies? When a therapist thinks that the patient is not benefiting from therapy, does that correlate with having less personal assets that support mental health and is that when the patient is more likely to be prescribed an anti-depressant?

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