According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, if you ever plan to take antidepressants Prozac or Paxil during pregnancy, then your chances of having a baby with birth defects are higher than those who do not take them.
The study examined SSRI antidepressant use in about 28,000 pregnancies, and found that when taken early in pregnancy, Paxil (paroxetine) was linked to more defects of the abdominal wall, heart, brain and skull, and Prozac (fluoxetine) was linked to heart wall defects and irregular skull shape.
In some cases, the study also shows that birth defect rates more than doubled. The risk of a heart defect while taking Paxil is 24 cases for every 10,000 pregnancies. Without Paxil, the risk is 10 cases per 10,000.
However, other SSRIs like Zoloft (sertraline), Celexa (citalopram) and Lexapro (escitalopram) did not increase birth defect risk.
“Continued scrutiny of the association between SSRIs and birth defects is warranted,” the authors wrote, “and additional studies of specific SSRI treatments during pregnancy are needed to enable women and their healthcare providers to make more informed decisions about treatment.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1 in 10 women ages 18 to 39 take antidepressants, which is three times the rate of men the same age.