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Mother's Antidepressants Can Increase the Risk of Speech Disorders in Baby

Mothers who consume antidepressants at the time of pregnancy will have an increased chance of delivering babies who end up having speech and language disorders in the future, according to a new study.

Speech Disorders

In the new study, the babies born to mothers having depression were given antidepressants were seen to have be 37 percent more likely of developing language and speech disorders in the study period of 14 years, as compared to those women who were not given antidepressants even after having depression at the time of pregnancy, according to the researchers.

There was also a 63 percent chance of having speech and language problems as compared to those pregnant mothers who were not diagnosed of depression and prescribed antidepressants, according to the researchers. Some of the studies conducted on antidepressant use were done on the basis of the frequency of purchase. Therefore, it is not clear whether the medications were actually consumed by the pregnant women or not.

Dr. Alan Brown from the Columbia University Medical Center, co-author of the study, mentioned that the findings are just a factor that needs to be considered by pregnant women who are diagnosed with depression along with their doctors about the feasibility of consuming antidepressants at the time of pregnancy. This shouldn't be termed as the sole factor as there are several other factors to consider as well, he added.

Another important factor that needs to be considered is the severity of the depression, according to Brown. If the person is suicidal or has no touch with reality, there will be chances of health risks. At such situations, the potential benefits tend to outweigh the risks involved in prescribing the medication, according to Brown.

The researchers of the study had to go through the information collected from about 56,000 children that took birth in 1996 to 2010 in Finland. These children were followed up for a period of 14 years. The researchers evaluated if they developed any language or speech disorder, along with any developmental disorders during the 14 years. The researchers also made a point to look through the overall health condition of the mothers along with their demographic information.

Among all the children involved in the study, around 28 percent of them were born to mothers who were diagnosed of depression and were prescribed antidepressants belonging to the group called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These drugs are known for altering the levels of a chemical named serotonin.

The results showed that women who took SSRIs at the time of pregnancy were at the highest risk of delivering children with language or speech related disorders during the study course.

The average age of speech and language disorders among the children was found to be 4 years, as per the study. The study was published in a journal called JAMA Psychiatry on 12th of October.

The study was not able to prove that consuming antidepressants would directly result in language or speech disorders, but was able to show a link shared between the two variables.

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