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Antidepressants in Pregnancy May Delay Developmental Milestones
Date:2/23/2010

Children exposed in womb slower to sit without support, walk, study finds

TUESDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Babies of women who take antidepressants during the latter part of pregnancy are slower in reaching some developmental milestones, new research shows.

Using data on more than 81,000 babies born in Denmark, researchers found that children whose mothers took antidepressants during the second or third trimester sat without support later and walked later than children of depressed mothers who did not take medication. This was especially true for boys.

Despite the delays, the children's progress was still well within the bounds of normal development, the researchers noted. Children whose mothers took antidepressants sat about 16 days later and walked nearly a month later than the children of mothers who didn't take the drugs.

According to the paper, researchers said they did not know if the changes were permanent or only temporary.

By 19 months, they found no differences in motor skills between kids exposed and not exposed to antidepressants.

But the 19-month-old children whose mothers had taken antidepressants were less able to occupy themselves for more than 15 minutes than toddlers whose mothers hadn't taken antidepressants.

No other delays in any of the other 14 developmental milestones mothers were asked about, including language development, social development or other motor skills such as head control or rolling from back to belly, were noted among exposed children.

The study is published in the March issue of Pediatrics.

Despite some concerns, Dr. Diane Ashton, deputy medical director of the March of Dimes and an ob-gyn, urged women not to make any hasty decisions about discontinuing the drugs and to consult with their doctors first.

"For the most part, we feel it's important for women to be adequately treated for depression during preg
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