Health & Exercise

SSRI risks while pregnant? (Lexapro, Prozac, Zoloft)

Hi there,

Not sure if this is the right board to post this on, but here goes:  Does anyone know the actual risks (numbers/statistics) to the fetus of going on an SSRI while pregnant?

Some background.... I am 16 weeks pregnant with my first child, and having the most horrible anxiety and depression.  I have a history of anxiety (had taken Lexapro and before that, Celexa on and off for 10 years, but stopped before TTC), but this depression is new to me.  I quit working two months ago due to nausea and anxiety, and am alone all day while hubby is at work.  Despite being in the second trimester, I am still feeling regularly nauseated, which, combined with a long-standing phobia of nausea and vomiting, keeps me in the house all day, usually confined to the bedroom.  All this nausea, anxiety, and being stuck in the house alone so much has combined to make me horribly, horribly depressed.

My OBGYN wants me to talk to my GP about going back on Lexapro, but I am so afraid of harming this little baby.  I have read about the risks of all three SSRIs (birth defects to the heart, lungs; premature birth; infant withdrawal symptoms; etc.), but can't seem to find the actual statistics anywhere -- and I have looked.  Does anyone out there know?  (i.e., going on Lexapro increases the risks of heart defects from 1 in 1,000 to 3 in 1,000, etc.)

Thank you in advance for your help.

Re: SSRI risks while pregnant? (Lexapro, Prozac, Zoloft)

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    I am so sorry you are dealing with all this when this should be such an exciting time for you. I have been on an SSRI since I was 15. When I got preg, like you, I was very worried about how it would affect the baby. I spoke with my OB (who is the one who prescribes my Celexa) and was told it did carry some risk, but since I was on the lowest dose that the risk was low. She also told me that if I could get off of it without issue (which I knew wouldn't be my case) that was fine, however if I needed it, that trying to get off of it could potentially cause more harm than good to me and my baby. I decided to continue to take it, and I had a very healthy son born at almost 39wks. This is just MY experience with it, so I rec you speak with you OB again. These Drs can prescribe you these meds and they are familiar with the risks vs benefits specific to each patient. I am also an OB/GYN nurse and see these drugs prescribed quite frequently for patients. But definitely speak with your OB. GL Mama!
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    I will tell you my personal experience.  I was on Ativan as needed before I was pregnant and the doctor switched me to zoloft when I was pregnant. I  didn't want to get on it, but I was so depressed/anxious because of all the pregnancy symptoms I had - puking, nausea, indigestion, heartburn, extreme hunger - I got it all and 2nd tri didn't help me at all - I puked 1-2 times a day for 8 months.  All that said, I started the zoloft and in 2 weeks I was a different much happier, less anxious mama.  Yes I still hated being pregnant and then I got - sciatica and lower back/sacrum pain and was pretty much house bound for an entire month because i couldn't move without pain.  I don't regret getting on zoloft at all - it made pregnancy much more doable.  From what my doctor said, zoloft is the only safe anxiety pill to take and DD is just fine.  I didn't get any side affects from it and either did DD.  It's much safer for you to be a happy person than a depressed/anxious pregnant girl.
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    I'm currently TTC and this thought goes through my mind every month. I recently went off my Wellbutrin and decreased my dose of Lexapro to 10 mg from 20 mg. I also take XANAX XR at night and take it every other night during the 2WW. I believe I will try to stay off my medication during my future pregnancy, but if needed I will go back on drugs (most likely Buspar as it is a class B drug). Good luck with your decision!

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