Study shows antidepressants may be linked to autism

During pregnancy, there are many changes that women have to make to their daily lives. Beginning in the first trimester, expectant mothers are advised to stay away from everything ranging from alcohol to cigarettes. However, prescription medications are also typically on the list. Now, a new study shows that it may be even more necessary than before to steer clear of antidepressants. 

Researchers in Sweden have collected data to hone in on how antidepressants affect pregnancies, as well as fetal development. Through their findings, they conclude that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and nonselective monoamine reuptake inhibitors can be associated with autism spectrum disorder. Specifically, they were able to link these medications to forms of the neurodevelopment disorder that don't inhibit intellectual abilities.

"Why should it surprise us that medications that can change brain chemistry and function might alter the development of the brain and behavior?" Adam Urato, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Tufts University School of Medicine, told The New York Times.

Depression and anxiety can be difficult to treat with medication, which is why many women and their doctors struggle to deal with these issues once a baby is on the way. 

Taking medications while expecting
Ideally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration encourages women to speak to their healthcare providers about taking prescription drugs as soon as they conceive. However, not all women know they're expecting before they have an opportunity to stop medications. That being said, it's never too late to seek information about which medicines are safe to take while pregnant. Medical experts have an abundance of information that can guide moms-to-be on what's acceptable to consume during the nine months.

In the event that you're able to verify your pregnancy early, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that you should never stop taking prescription medications without your doctor's consent. Even if you're only taking herbal medicine or over-the-counter varieties, don't change your routine on a whim. The safest step to take is to speak to a medical expert about your situation prior to altering anything from your diet to your medications.

While it can be challenging to be pregnant if you need certain prescriptions, there are various options available to you. That being said, there's no reason to be discouraged as soon as you find out you have a little one on the way!

How have you planned around your medications in the past? Were you able to continue any while expecting? Leave your feedback in the comments section?