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A retrospective study found that periconceptional selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) treatment among pregnant women was associated with a higher risk for gestational hypertension and preeclampsia. This risk was greater for women who continued SSRI treatment after the first trimester.
Studies indicate that 12%-25% of pregnant women show signs of depression and 2%-13% are treated with antidepressants, most commonly SSRIs. While these medications may reduce the risk of bad outcomes associated with untreated depression, some studies have found associations with adverse effects on the fetus. However, very few studies have focused on the medical and obstetrical adverse effects of antidepressants on the mothers, the study authors write.
Preeclampsia is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality during pregnancy. A few studies have suggested an increased risk of preeclampsia among women with depression, but the independent impact of medications has not been assessed. It is unclear whether an association results from biological or behavioral factors, medications, or a combination, the authors write. Women who are pregnant or are planning a pregnancy have to make difficult decisions, along with their physicians, about depression treatment options and whether to discontinue treatment.
To the authors' knowledge, theirs is the first study to examine hypertension and preeclampsia risks associated with the continuation or discontinuation of antidepressant use beyond the first trimester.
Study authors analyzed data …