Updates in Women's Psychiatry

October 2, 2011

I recently attended the conference hosted by Post Partum Support International in Seattle.  It was extremely helpful in updating my information, especially information related to psychopharmacology and pregnancy.  

There are multiple class action suits being pursued here and elsewhere in which women who took SSRI medications (Zoloft, Lexapro, Celexa) during their pregnancy are being encouraged to sue if their babies were born with birth defects.  This conference reassured me that there is no conclusive data that links these medications (excepting Paxil) with birth defects, including pulmonary hypertension and cardiac defects.  The data that exists are conflicting and some rely on research methodologies that are not the most sound. 

It is important to consider the risks and benefits of both medication AND psychiatric illness for both the mother and the fetus in pregnant women. Over and over, presenters prestigious in the field noted research that links maternal psychiatric symptoms to risks in the fetus. There are no choices that are risk free, but it is crucial that women who are pregnant or in the postpartum period, breastfeeding or not, understand the options that are available so that they can obtain the help that they need to strive towards health for mothers, infants and families. A link that can be very helpful for women who wish to learn more about the topic is www.womensmentalhealth.org