1. Ihlenfeld, Janet T. PhD, RN

Article Content

Kallen B. Neonate characteristics after maternal use of antidepressants in late pregnancy. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004;158:312-316.


A large prospective study of the association between mothers' use of antidepressants during late pregnancy and subsequent disease in their newborn infants was carried over a 6-1/2-month period in Sweden. Data were gathered routinely from the Swedish Medical Birth Registry, which contains all information on all births that have taken place in the country. Data were gathered regarding the mothers' age, parity, cigarette smoking behaviors, and neonatal birth weight.


Of the age births to mothers who had taken either tricyclic antidepressants, SSRIS (Citalopram), or other antidepressants, it was found that odds for having a child with certain problems increased compared to the rest of the population of mothers, who had not taken antidepressant drugs during late pregnancy.


The newborns were more likely to be delivered prematurely, have respiratory distress, hypoglycemia, neonatal convulsions, and low Apgar scores when their mothers had taken tricyclic antidepressants. Little effect was seen on the number of infants who developed neonatal jaundice. When the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors was looked at separately from the other types of antidepressant drugs taken, it was found that this class of drugs affected the infants less than did the tricyclic antidepressants.


While this study did have limitations relating to the lack of data on dosages of the mediations taken, there was clear evidence that these tricyclic antidepressants had a negative effect on newborn health outcomes. Further research needs to be done to verify these results.