Health care professionals advise pregnant women to remain stress or depression-free during the pregnancy period. According to the latest study, the importance of this statement has been amply justified. Stress, as we all know has affected millions of people worldwide. Even pregnant women are unable to overcome their stress. As a result, they have to take antidepressants. The study confirms, women who took antidepressants during their second and third trimesters increased the risk of getting autism.
The recent findings according to experts has enough evidence that links the use of such medications in pregnancy leading to negative consequences for the unborn child. Records of 145,456 newborn children were taken into account. These children were studied for six years. The researchers checked the medical records for a minimum period of one year of the mothers of these children prior to their birth. The results concluded 0.7% of 1054 of these children were diagnosed with autism. 2,352 children whose mothers were on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – SSRIs during the second and third trimesters 1.2% were diagnosed with autism. Another 1% of those babies whose mothers took SSRIs during the first trimester were prone to autism.
Additionally, the study also compared the likelihood of developing autism for the babies born to women having a history of depression to those who took antidepressants during the entire period of pregnancy. The findings indicate mothers who took such medications would increase the risk of autism development to about 75% compared to those mothers who only had a history of depression.
The dominance of autism has significantly increased in the last 15 years. Autism, a neurodevelopment disorder severely impacts the cognitive abilities of a child. 1 out of every 68 children is affected by autism presently. The higher use of antidepressants by women during their pregnancy has only complicated this issue further.
This has raised concerns about the way depression is treated. Health care professionals suggest women who have mild to moderate depression can be treated differently without the use of antidepressants. Psychological therapies and exercises can also help women overcome their depression; this also safeguards the unborn child against autism development at a later stage in their life.
After this study reports were published another pediatric health care institutions have expressed warnings about weighing the associated risks, like untreated depression can lead to impaired development, pre-term birth or low birth weights. A quick fix to this issue is being desperately sought.