Posted by The Vigilant Mom on February 15, 2012
Since the number of prescriptions written for antidepressants continues to grow each year, it may surprise you to learn that taking antidepressants during pregnancy can pose a risk to your baby. For example, women who have taken Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac, Zoloft, Pristiq, or Celexa during pregnancy are reported to be at higher risk of having a baby with a clubfoot birth defect. This has been confirmed by a study conducted by the Institute of Reproductive Toxicology at the University of Ulm, Germany and the authors of a July 2007 article in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Although clubfoot is a complex type of deformity, it is readily apparent when a child is born and can sometimes even be diagnosed through a prenatal ultrasound. A child born with clubfoot will have the feet twisted inward so that the top of the foot is where the bottom should be. Typically, the calf muscles will be underdeveloped as well. A baby with clubfoot will not be in pain, but the condition needs to be corrected before he or she learns to stand and walk.
The treatment for clubfoot will depend on how serious the condition is and whether or not the baby has the condition in one or both feet. Non-surgical treatment options for clubfoot include bracing, casting, and manipulation. Surgery may be needed if these options are not effective, although only 5% of children born with clubfoot will require surgery to correct the condition.
Treatment for clubfoot is begun shortly after diagnosis. Although parents may be shocked to discover their baby has a birth defect caused by antidepressant use, clubfoot is easiest to correct during the first few months of life. A newborn baby has very flexible joints and bones and correcting clubfoot as early as possible minimizes the risk of the child having mobility problems as an adult. With proper treatment, a baby with the clubfoot birth defect will be able to lead a happy, healthy, and productive life.
Any woman of child-bearing age who is prescribed anti-depressants should be aware of the risks and should discuss them with her doctor.
Keywords: clubfoot, antidepressants, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac and Zoloft, Pristiq, Celexa