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New Study Provides Evidence of Dangers of Taking Antidepressants during Pregnancy

November 08, 2013

One of the most difficult ordeals faced by parents is the discovery that their new born infant has suffered a serious birth defect that was preventable. The March of Dimes reports that approximately 150,000 babies are born each year with some form of birth defect. While birth defects can vary substantially in term of their severity and degree of debilitation, they constitute the leading cause of death among new born infants. A birth defect technically refers to any form of abnormality that is present at birth which impacts metabolism, function or the physical form of a child. When a child is born with a severe birth defect, the child may suffer permanent impairment of physical and/or mental functions. Although a child may suffer a birth defect because of genetics or a medical error by a physician, another common cause of birth defects involves harmful side effects from drugs taken by pregnant moms.

A new study from the British Medical Journal provides new evidence that expectant mothers should be cautious when taking anti-depression medications during pregnancy. The researchers found that ingesting antidepressants within a short period prior to giving birth results in a 1.4 to 1.9-fold increase in the risk of a postpartum hemorrhage. This medical condition is one of the most common causes of birth trauma that results in the mortality of an infant or severe permanent disability according to the authors of the study.

The authors of the study reviewed data covering over 100,000 expectant mothers who had been diagnosed with a mood or anxiety disorder. The researchers found that both serotonin and non-serotonin type antidepressants increased the risk of a pregnant mother suffering a postpartum hemorrhage. This study reaffirms prior research suggesting a correlation between use of medications to treat depression and miscarriages or birth defects.

Approximately ninety percent of expectant mothers take at least one prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medication during pregnancy according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC also indicates that seventy percent of women take a prescription medication while they are pregnant. Further, the percentage of pregnant women taking four or more prescription medications has doubled since the late 1970s according to a recent article in the New York Times.

Although many OTC and prescription medications are safe to take during pregnancy, many medications can cause severe birth defects, miscarriages and other severe risks when taken during pregnancy. Physicians have a legal duty to prescribe medications that are safe and necessary to expectant mothers. Similarly, pharmaceutical companies have an obligation to provide warnings of risks associated with taking medications during pregnancy. When doctors and drug companies fail to comply with these legal duties, a parent whose child suffers a birth defect or wrongful death may have a right to pursue a legal claim for financial compensation. While financial compensation may not eliminate your child's birth defect, it can provide valuable financial resources to improve your child's quality of life.

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If you believe your child has suffered a birth defect or you experienced other adverse effects during pregnancy that may have been caused by a prescription or over-the-counter medication, our Atlanta personal injury lawyers at Montlick and Associates are available to provide a straightforward assessment of your claim and to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

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All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.