Q. How do antidepressants affect the fetus?

Answered by
Dr. Mashfika N Alam
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
Published on Dec 28, 2019

Hello doctor,

I am a-20-year-old female. I am pregnant and suffering from depression and my main 'trigger' is lack of sleep and tiredness. I am aware that I am having a child. I am signing up for sleepless nights so my main concern is antidepressants and the effect they might have while breastfeeding.

Dr. Mashfika N Alam

Family Physician General Practitioner


Welcome to icliniq.com.

I have read your post thoroughly and I have to tell you that depression during pregnancy must be dealt with carefully. Pregnancy itself causes mood swings and there are episodes of depression, as a consequence of hormonal fluctuation. The best ways to deal with this during pregnancy vary from patient to patient depending on their level of depression.

Provided your history with this and the suicidal attempts, you may need to be on antidepressants, which even though are generally considered unsafe for the fetus, a few are of pregnancy safety category C. Meaning, category C drugs may be given when benefits outweigh the risks in your case. Needless to say, these are prescription medications and I recommend you to see a psychiatrist who can evaluate your present situation and decide on that.

Please note, that if you ever feel like you need medication during pregnancy, do not hesitate to consider the safer options because harboring something like depression can make it worse and cause more harm to the fetus than the drug itself.

I hope this is helpful.

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