In a preliminary study that has not yet been validated by further research, findings suggest that use of an antidepressant during pregnancy may increase the risk of having an autistic child by 2 to 3 times. Antidepressant use during pregnancy and the autism rate is up substantially over the last 20 years. In 1990 less than 1% of women took an antidepressant in the first trimester of pregnancy. Today, about 7.5% of pregnant women use an antidepressant.
A developing fetus is very vulnerable to many external chemicals, and many drugs are known to cross the placental barrier and enter the fetal circulation. Introduction of foreign chemicals into the body of a pregnant female should be held to a bare minimum. Use of drug therapy during pregnancy should be based on potential risk to the developing child v. essential medical needs of the mother.
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