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Can Mental Health Medication Cause Birth Defects?

Posted on in Birth Injury

Chicago birth defect injury attorneyDepression and anxiety are extremely common in Illinois residents, with more people than ever now seeking therapy and medication to treat these disorders. Living with depression and anxiety can be crippling, and finding out you are pregnant can increase your nervousness and worries. Balancing a mother’s health and wellbeing with potential risks to a developing fetus can be tricky, and this is perhaps never more true than when a doctor is giving a pregnant mother medication. 

While most medications for depression and anxiety are safe for infants in utero, some medications have side effects that may cause serious harm to a developing baby. Doctors sometimes have to make difficult choices about medication, the mother’s health, and the infant’s risk of developing birth defects. When a doctor is careless or negligent about writing prescriptions for a pregnant mother, they may make medication errors and the effects on a baby can be devastating. 

Weighing the Risks 

While doctors generally do not think most mood-regulating drugs cause birth defects, some medications are safer than others. Drugs that may be a cause for concern during pregnancy include, but are not limited to: 

  • Bupropion - Some studies show that mothers who take bupropion have comparable rates of birth defects as mothers who do not, but others suggest bupropion’s use in the first trimester could be linked to a small increase in heart defects and miscarriage
  • Fluoxetine - One of the most commonly used antidepressants, fluoxetine has been linked to heart and skull defects. 
  • Valproic acid - Sometimes used to treat seizures and bipolar disorders, valproic acid is known to cause serious birth defects, including brain and spinal cord problems, as well as neurological and motor development issues. 

Although some medicine may pose a risk to a developing infant, it is important for pregnant mothers to consult with their doctor before deciding to stop mood-altering medication. The effects of stopping certain medications immediately can include worsened anxiety or depression, suicidal ideation, and more. A mother’s mental health also can have an affect on a fetus and untreated depression may increase the chances of preterm births or low birth weight.  

Contact a Cook County Birth Defect Lawyer Today

While it can be difficult to anticipate or understand exactly how certain drugs interact with our bodies, there are drugs with known hazards to developing fetuses. If you believe your child has been harmed because of improperly prescribed drugs, consider meeting with a Cook County birth defect attorney with Birth Injury Law Alliance, Ltd.. You can schedule a free case review so you can ask questions and learn more about your legal options. Call us now at 312-462-4200




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