Eight years ago when I started taking antidepressants, having a baby was the furthest thing from my mind.
The official coroner’s report stated the cause of death only as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, but an autopsy report notes that the Effexor Rawkins was taking was a risk factor in the death.“Nothing is more devastating than losing a baby, and nine months of being depressed is better than that,” says Rawkins.
Still, its frustratingly ambiguous final summary stated only that more research is needed before anything definitive can be said about the risks and benefits of SSRI exposure to unborn babies.
Further obfuscating this issue is the plentiful evidence that suggests depression left untreated could have as grave an impact on a pregnant woman’s child as antidepressants.
To me, a woman taking one of these drugs and already prone to mental distress, the data presented an agonizing conundrum.
How was I to know which would be worse for my unborn child: a mother on antidepressants, or a potentially anxious and depressed mother?
In 2006, the FDA issued a public health advisory based on a study that found six times the risk of PPHN, but then five years later issued a retraction of sorts after subsequent studies did not find an elevated risk.