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Pediatrics. 2010 Mar;125(3):e600-8. doi: 10.1542/peds.2008-3655. Epub 2010 Feb 22.

Fetal exposure to antidepressants and normal milestone development at 6 and 19 months of age.

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Department of Epidemiology, Institute of Public Health, Aarhus University, Bartolins Allé 2, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.



The goal was to investigate a possible association between exposure to antidepressants in utero and developmental milestones in early childhood.


Information on pregnancy exposures and developmental milestones at 6 and 19 months was obtained from the Danish National Birth Cohort. Of the eligible pregnant women, 415 used antidepressant medication, 489 reported depression with no medical treatment, and 81 042 reported no depression and no use of psychotropic medication.


Children with second- or third-trimester exposure to antidepressants were able to sit 15.9 days (95% confidence interval [CI]: 6.8-25.0) and to walk 28.9 days (95% CI: 15.0-42.7) later than children of women not exposed to antidepressants but still were within the normal range of development. Fewer children with second- or third-trimester exposure to antidepressants were able to sit without support at 6 months of age (odds ratio: 2.1 [95% CI: 1.23-3.60]), and fewer were able to occupy themselves at 19 months of age (odds ratio: 2.1 [95% CI: 1.09-4.02]). None of the other milestones measured showed statistically significant associations with antidepressant exposure.


The results of this study suggest a permanent or reversible effect of antidepressant exposure on fetal brain development, which may depend on the timing of exposure during pregnancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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