Antidepressants May Cause Autism, But Don't Stop Taking Them

antidepressants autismMore information about autism has been discovered that may make moms depressed. According to a paper published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, moms who take antidepressants double their child's chance of autism if they have refilled a prescription within one year prior to their baby's birth. Which means not only taking anti-depressants during pregnancy, but immediately before conception as well.

That is such a bummer. 

While I do appreciate any information coming out of autism research, this study makes me anxious. So I can only imagine how moms-to-be that rely on antidepressants are feeling.


I realize anecdotes are not science, but I do know multiple moms who had to take antidepressants during pregnancy, and none of the children are anywhere on the spectrum. But I do fear for what would have happened had moms in need of help stopped taking antidepressants cold turkey. Surely the negative effects of depression outweigh the risk of autism. Suicidal thoughts, being unable to care for yourself during pregnancy, or even being miserable for nine months and beyond is a pretty hefty price to pay in an (unrealistic) attempt to keep your body clear of anything but nutrients for a period of time.

Again, while this is a scientific finding that must be given attention, I simply cringe at every study that blames mom for baby's issues. If you're depressed, your child will have problems. If you take antidepressants, you'll give your kid autism. Moms can't win unless they are blessed with perfect mental and physical health. Like those magical unicorn mothers we hear about, but never actually see.

If you think you can function in a healthy manner off your medication, pregnancy is a fabulous time to do so. But if your antidepressants assure strong mental health, you owe it to yourself and your baby to stay well.

Did you take antidepressants when you were pregnant?


Image via BeauGiles/Flickr

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