The effect of maternal antidepressants on third trimester uteroplacental hemodynamics and the neonatal abstinence syndrome: a retrospective cohort study Journal Articles uri icon

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  • The objective of this study is to determine whether maternal antidepressant use during pregnancy influences uteroplacental hemodynamics, thereby affecting fetal growth and gestational age at delivery. The secondary aim was to determine the incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) among infants exposed to antidepressant medications. The charts of women who received obstetrical care and had a history of depression from January 2014 to December 2016 at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada, were reviewed. Exclusion criteria were substance abuse; narcotic or lithium use at the time of delivery.In total, 205 women met the inclusion criteria (92 took antidepressants; 113 women did not). There were no significant differences in umbilical artery pulsatility index (PI), gestational age at delivery, or birth weight when comparing women based on antidepressant use. A small proportion (18%) of neonates had mild withdrawal symptoms; one baby had a score (≥ 8) consistent with severe NAS. In women with a history of depression, there was no difference in uteroplacental hemodynamics as measured by third trimester Doppler ultrasonography when comparing women who took antidepressant medication versus those who did not. The large majority of babies who were exposed to antidepressants in utero did not show withdrawal symptoms. These results lend support for the relative safety of antidepressants during pregnancy.


  • McLean, Katherine
  • Murphy, Kellie E
  • Dalfen, Ariel
  • Shea, Alison

publication date

  • December 2019