Antidepressants in Pregnancy

“Be patient with yourself… nothing in Nature blooms all year.” One of my favourite quotes regarding perinatal depression and anxiety which affects 10-16% of all new parents.

The importance of perinatal mental health cannot be overstated. Research has shown that an untreated perinatal mental health condition can lead to substance misuse, poor antenatal attendance as well as poor self-care.

There is also a risk of poor attachment to the infant, and a long-term risk of poor child development outcomes through neglect. Suicide is the final risk. The government have recently supported our concerns regarding this important topic by changing the MBS item numbers (16590, 16591, 16407) to include a mental health assessment.

We have a duty of care to our patients to know what is safe to prescribe or continue to use in pregnancy- remembering that pregnancy is not protective against mental illness.

Did you know that more than half of all women abruptly discontinue antidepressant medication upon confirming a pregnancy? Almost 70% of these women suffer a relapse of depression.

Currently the recommendations for a woman on an antidepressant who has been euthymic for at least 12 months include cease the medication in pregnancy, continue the current medication, change to an alternative, ...

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