In August 2006, a team of Canadian researchers led by TF Oberlander published a study in Archives of General Psychiatry titled “Neonatal outcomes after prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants and maternal depression using population-based linked health data.” exploring the connection between prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor drugs (SSRIs) and adverse neonatal outcomes.

This team explored whether maternal depression alone or medication caused these adverse birth outcomes in a population-based study that included “all live births during a 39-month period (N = 119,547) (1998-2001)” in British Columbia.

After a great deal of statistical analyses, the team found that “Fourteen percent of mothers were diagnosed as having depression during their pregnancy, and the incidence of prenatal SSRI exposure increased from 2.3% to 5.0% during a 39-month period. Birth weight and gestational age for SE-D infants were significantly less than for DE infants, as was the proportion of infants born at less than 37 weeks (95% confidence interval [CI], -1 to -64, -0.25 to -0.45, and -0.009 to -0.04, respectively)”.

This means that SSRI-exposed children were significantly more likely to be born with low birth weight and/or born prematurely.

Further, the team found that “An increased proportion of SE-D infants had neonatal respiratory distress (13.9% vs 7.8%), jaundice (9.4% vs 7.5%), and feeding problems (3.9% vs 2.4%) compared with DE infants (95% CI of difference, 0.042-0.079, 0.003-0.334, and 0.005-0.025, respectively). When outcomes were compared between SE-D and propensity score-matched DE neonates, SE-D was associated with increased incidence of birth weight below the 10th percentile and rates of respiratory distress.”  This finding is consistent with a number of other studies finding SSRI exposure linked to poor neonatal adaptation including respiratory distress.

As such, Oberlander et al. (2006) concluded that “With linked population health data and propensity score matching, prenatal SE-D exposure was associated with an increased risk of low birth weight and respiratory distress, even when maternal illness severity was accounted for”, meaning that maternal depression did not cause adverse birth outcomes — SSRI drugs did.

Because so many pregnant women use SSRIs unaware of the risks for adverse birth outcomes, SSRI birth defect lawsuits are currently being filed in great number around the world.

If you or a loved one used SSRIs and gave birth to a child with a birth defect or who had otherwise negative birth outcomes, your family may be entitled to significant financial compensation.  For a free, no-obligation case consultation, contact our team of SSRI birth defect lawyers at the information provided below.  We have the experience, resources, and skills required to win the justice you deserve.  Call today and see how we can help.

(855) 452 – 5529

Our SSRI Birth Defects Lawsuit Information page is a great place to start if you have any questions about SSRIs and Birth Defects.