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Early Hum Dev. 2013 Aug;89(8):519-24. doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2012.12.012. Epub 2013 Feb 4.

Infant developmental outcomes following prenatal exposure to antidepressants, and maternal depressed mood and positive affect.

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Child & Family Research Institute, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.



Prenatal exposure to serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI) antidepressants has been associated with delays in early developmental milestones, but there remains uncertainty. Even among a subset of studies examining the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (BSID), some have reported normal mental and psychomotor development while others have suggested a delay in motor development. Given an increasing number of infants exposed to SRIs, furthering our understanding of the possible developmental implications of SRI exposure in utero is critical.


To examine the effects of prenatal serotonin reuptake inhibitor exposure and maternal mood on infant developmental outcomes at 10months of age.


Prospective study of mothers and their 10-month-old infants.


We examined 31 mother-child pairs exposed prenatally to SRIs and 52 mother-child pairs who were nonexposed.


The Bayley Scales of Infant Development (third edition) scores.


Infants exposed prenatally to SRIs scored significantly lower than nonexposed infants on gross motor (P=0.03), social-emotional (P=0.04) and adaptive behavior (P=0.05) subscales of the BSID-III, controlling for pre- and postnatal maternal depressed mood, smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy. No significant differences in any of the BSID-III subscales were observed between infants exposed and infants nonexposed to pre and postnatal maternal depressed mood (P>0.05). Increased levels of maternal positive affect at 10 months predicted increased social-emotional scores (P=0.03).


Infants prenatally exposed to SRIs score significantly lower on the gross motor, social-emotional and adaptive behavior subscales of the BSID-III, and this was not explained by underlying maternal depression.

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