A recent study from one of the top universities in the world suggests that women who use antidepressant medication during pregnancy are at risk of passing on language disorders to their offspring.
According to Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and the Columbia University Medical Center, expectant mothers who are using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may possibly transmit speech problems to their children, particularly in expressing themselves through sounds.
Popular variants of SSRIs that trigger this effect include Prozac (fluoxetine), Celexa (citalopram), Paxil (paroxetine), Zoloft (sertraline) and Lexapro (escitalopram), reports. These types of medications can enter the woman's placenta and be integrated into their blood circulation which in return affects their children.
This is in contrast to the fact that SSRIs are known to be recommended medications for pregnant women who are suffering from mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
The study is based on their sample of at least 850,000 live births from 1996 to 2010 in Finland. At least 37% of the study's sample tested positive to having children suffering from such impediments.
According to , the research also shows that the frequency of using SSRIs increases the likelihood of their children acquiring language problems. Women who have taken at least two varieties of SSRI medication are believed to have dealt with depression or other mental health illnesses longer, thus prolonging their exposure to the said drugs.
As of now, it has not yet been established if such behavior can adversely affect the child's academic skills in the future. It was pointed out in the study however that children with SSRI-inducing mothers can also be hit with dyslexia which can be a burden in the offspring's studies.
With regards to alternatives, researchers are looking at psychotherapy sessions as one way of dealing with depression. However, this may only be applicable to those with milder cases. This is why Jennita Reefhuis and Jennifer N. Lind from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advocates for exploring other treatment options especially for mothers who may be suffering from extreme forms of depression.