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J Affect Disord. 2011 Dec;135(1-3):208-15. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2011.07.022. Epub 2011 Sep 3.

Obstetrical and neonatal outcomes after prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: the relevance of dose.

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Perinatal Psychiatry Program, Institut Clinic of Neuroscience (ICN), Hospital Clínic, Barcelona, Spain.



The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) on obstetrical and neonatal outcomes.


A case-control study was conducted to compare perinatal outcomes among pregnant women with affective disorder (DSM-IV criteria) and who received SSRIs during pregnancy with those of women without an active psychiatric disorder during pregnancy who were non-exposed to antidepressants during pregnancy. Each case was matched to two controls for maternal age (± 2 years) and parity.


A total of 252 women were enrolled in the study, 84 exposed and 168 non-exposed. Demographic and clinical characteristics did not differ significantly between the groups. The rates of prelabor rupture of membranes, induction of labor and cesarean delivery were slightly higher but not statistically significant in the exposed group. The mean gestational age at birth was 38.8 (± 1.86) weeks for the exposed group and 39.4 (± 1.52) weeks for the non-exposed group (p=.005). Rates for preterm birth were higher in the exposed group (OR=3.44, 95% CI=1.30-9.11). After stratification for dose, it was found that exposure to a high-dose was associated with lower gestational age (p=.009) and higher rates of prematurity (OR=5.07, 95% CI=1.34-19.23). The differences remained significant after controlling for maternal status and the length of exposure.


Women treated with SSRIs during pregnancy, mainly at high-dose, had an increased risk of preterm birth compared to healthy women of similar age and parity who were not exposed to SSRI during pregnancy.

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