Can I keep taking my antidepressants during pregnancy?

The first thing to do is find out if your depression can be controlled with psychotherapy alone. If you are already in psychotherapy, continue with it. If you are using psychotherapy along with medications to treat your depression, see if you can lower the medications or taper them away. If you are not yet working with a psychotherapist, this is the time to start. Try to give yourself enough time to develop a healthy therapeutic relationship before you become pregnant.

If you find that you still require some medications, take the lowest doses possible to control your unipolar major depression. Find out the risks of your current antidepressants for pregnancy, and if there are others that are safer, consider changing to one of these.

You already know that taking medications during pregnancy can increase the risk of birth problems. However, there are also risks if you stop your depression treatment. If you abruptly stop taking an antidepressant before pregnancy, you run a high risk of your depression returning while you are pregnant. Never stop antidepressants suddenly, because this may help trigger a sudden episode of unipolar major depression.

If you have been considering stopping your treatment and just suffering with your depression symptoms during the nine long months of your pregnancy, don’t. While you are actively depressed, you are more likely to fall, crash your car, or have some other accident that could endanger you and the baby. You will be more likely to have an infection, particularly a viral infection during your pregnancy, if you are depressed. Some doctors even believe that the extra steroid stress hormones and excitatory neurochemicals that women experience while they are depressed can affect the gestation or the preterm development of your child.