Taking the most prescribed anti-depressant during pregnancy can harm the foetus, according to research by the Erasmus University teaching hospital in Rotterdam.
The research shows that taking the SSRI anti-depressant can result in babies being born with smaller heads which has a long-term effect on the development of the brain, the Volkskrant reports.
Babies born to mothers who take SSRIs are also more likely to have autistic problems, says the paper.
The research was carried out among nearly 8,000 pregnant women whose babies are now five years old.
SSRIs are thought to be harmless, according to research leader Henning Tiemeier. They are taken by women who are not seriously depressed, he told the Volkskrant. ‘For the sake of the children, you need to take into acount whether they will become depressed enough to require medication,’ he said.
The research results will be published in the Archives of General Psychiatry on Tuesday.
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