How Long Should You Be Off Antidepressants Before Getting Pregnant

Antidepressants: Safe during pregnancy?

Taking medications during pregnancy has risks and benefits. Get the facts about antidepressant use during pregnancy.

Most types of depression can be treated primarily with antidepressants. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to taking antidepressants while pregnant. Heres what you need to know.

Why is treatment for depression during pregnancy important?

Untreated depression could prevent you from getting prenatal care or eating the nutritious foods you and your unborn child need. Pregnancy-related major depression is linked to a higher risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, slowed fetal growth, and other issues for the baby. Additionally raising the risk of postpartum depression and making it more difficult to form a bond with your child, unstable depression during pregnancy

What are the effects of antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds on the brain and the body?

prescription drugs for depression and anxiety all function differently. We’ll concentrate on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and benzodiazepines in this article because they belong to the two drug classes that are most frequently prescribed for depression and anxiety (you may also have heard of selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or SNRIs), and because the most research has been done on their potential associations with fertility and reproduction:

1. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): SSRIs like citalopram (Celexa), paroxetine (Paxil), fluoxetine (Prozac), and sertraline (Zoloft) primarily work by making more serotonin available in the brain, and the idea is that more serotonin binding in the brain leads to less depressive symptomatology. SSRIs also indirectly increase the activity of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), which you can think of as our naturally produced “chill out” neurotransmitter.

2. Benzodiazepines: Benzodiazepines like lorazepam (Ativan), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), and alprazolam (Xanax) work by directly upping GABA activity. Increasing GABA has other effects in the brain beyond being helpful for depression and anxiety:

  • Research in rodents has found that things that increase GABA activity decrease the activity of the hypothalamus, which sits at the very top of the reproductive hormone production pathway.
  • Dampened hypothalamus activity may lead to lower luteinizing hormone (LH) levels and fewer mature eggs in rodents, and it’s observations from these studies that likely form the basis of the concern about SSRI and benzodiazepine use on fertility.
  • SSRIs and benzodiazepines travel throughout the body when consumed, having an impact on other systems, and no organ exists in isolation. People may also believe that these drugs can affect pregnancy and fetal development because they have the potential to affect a variety of bodily systems.

    Risk for newborns when moms take antidepressants while pregnant?

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