Decision-making about antidepressant medication use in pregnancy: a comparison between women making the decision in the preconception period versus in pregnancy Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Abstract Background Decisions about antidepressant use in pregnancy are complex. Little is known about how pregnancy-planning and already pregnant women making these decisions differ. Methods In 95 Canadian women having difficulty deciding whether to take antidepressants in pregnancy, we compared sociodemographic factors, clinical characteristics, and treatment intent between women planning pregnancy (preconception women) and currently-pregnant women. Results About 90% of preconception women (n = 55) were married or cohabitating and university-educated, and over 60% had an annual income of > 80,000 CAD/year; this was not different from currently-pregnant women (n = 40). Almost all women had previously used antidepressants, but preconception women were more likely to report current use (85.5% vs. 45.0%). They were more likely to have high decisional conflict (83.6% vs. 60.0%) and less likely to be under the care of a psychiatrist (29.1% vs. 52.5%). Preconception women were more likely than pregnant women to report the intent to use antidepressants (60% vs. 32.5%, odds ratio 3.11, 95% confidence interval 1.33–7.32); this was partially explained by between-group differences in current antidepressant use. Conclusions Preconception women were more likely than pregnant women to intend to use antidepressants in pregnancy, in part because more of them were already using this treatment. Strategies to enhance support for decision-making about antidepressant medication use in pregnancy may need to be tailored differently for pregnancy-planning and already pregnant women.


  • Barker, Lucy C
  • Dennis, Cindy-Lee
  • Hussain-Shamsy, Neesha
  • Stewart, Donna E
  • Grigoriadis, Sophie
  • Metcalfe, Kelly
  • Oberlander, Tim F
  • Schram, Carrie
  • Taylor, Valerie
  • Vigod, Simone N

publication date

  • December 2020