Antidepressants & Pregnancy
The risks and potential harm to normal fetal development
About this course
According to recent data, roughly ten percent of pregnant women take an antidepressant. Numerous research studies have shown that antidepressants cross the placenta. What effect does this chemical exposure have on the developing fetus?
In this course, Dr. Adam Urato, a practicing OB-GYN at Tufts University School of Medicine, reviews what science has to say about that question. He details the role that serotonin plays in normal fetal development, and reviews the extensive literature, from both animal studies and human studies, that warns of potential harm to the fetus and newborn child from exposure to a drug that disrupts normal serotonin function. Dr. Urato also discusses the financial conflicts of interest that have led to a societal failure to warn pregnant women of this risk.
Note: This lecture does not currently provide continuing education.
What you'll learn
- The role and importance of serotonin for normal fetal development
- The risks associated with a fetus' exposure to antidepressants, including pre-term birth, birth defects, autism, and other long-term neurobehavioral and motor deficiencies
- Why academic medicine, professional societies and the FDA haven't offered us sufficient warning about these dangers
- Why the benefits of antidepressants for depression may be overstated
Who should take this course
This course is designed to educate both medical and mental health professionals (doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, social workers, etc) and also the general public. Women of child-bearing age, in particular, are encouraged to take the course, as it will put them in a better position to make an informed choice about their use of antidepressants.
The course will take approximately 90 minutes to complete, not including the reading of supplementary materials.
This course is for free. If you find this course useful, please consider making a donation to help support our work.
Dr. Adam Urato graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1997 and has been practicing medicine for almost 20 years, specializing in Obstetrics & Gynecology. He cares for pregnant women on a daily basis as an attending maternal-fetal medicine physician at Tufts Medical Center in Boston and MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham. He is also an Associate Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine. An expert witness in antidepressant litigation, Dr. Urato writes and lectures regularly on antidepressant use during pregnancy.
Depressed pregnant women need good treatment and care and we shouldn't ignore depression. I care for these patients every day in my practice. This talk is about warning and the public's need to be aware of what the science is showing about the use of antidepressants in pregnancy.