Can You Take Zoloft in Pregnancy?

Lots of women feel depressed when they are pregnant so they consider taking Zoloft in pregnancy to help get them through it. However, it is important to note that there are some Zoloft common side effects for you and potential risks to your baby. All of which should be carefully considered before taking this medication while pregnant.



Zoloft has been categorized as a Category C drug by the FDA. This means a few things.

  1. The drug has not been thoroughly studied on humans
  2. The medication has been studied on animals and adverse effects to the fetus have been documented
  3. The benefits of the drug should be consider opposite the potential risks to the baby

In the case of Zoloft, reproductive studies were done on rats and rabbits at doses almost 4 times higher than the recommended maximum human dose. When pregnant rats and rabbits were given the dose during the last third of the pregnancy and during nursing there were an increase incidence of still born babies and the number of babies dying within the first 4 days of their lives.

Since there have not been extensive studies done on pregnant humans, Pfizer states that caution should be used when taking this medication if you are preganant and should only be taken if the benefits outweigh the risks.

Risks Taking Zoloft in Pregnancy

While there weren’t any formal clinical studies done prior to putting this medication on the market, there were informal findings documented afterwards. These findings indicated that when Zoloft was taken during the last trimester of pregnancy some serious complications can be experienced as soon as the baby is born. The complications reported include respiratory distress, tremors, jitters, inconsolable crying, seizures, apnea, severe vomiting, hypoglycemia as well as other things. Also, exposure to SSRI’s, such as Zoloft, late in pregnancy made infants 6 times more likely to develop persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN).

Labor and Nursing Considerations

It is not known if taking Zoloft in pregnancy effects labor and delivery in humans. There have been some studies done to determine the effect of Zoloft and breast feeding.

Also, after having your baby, keep an eye out for signs of postpartum depression. If you do experience postpartum depression then Zoloft might be an option for you as it is one of the preferred antidepressants for nursing mothers. However, when you stop taking the medication there are some potentially serious Zoloft withdrawal symptoms that both you and your baby might experience if you take it while nursing.

Summary

If you do consider taking Zoloft during pregnancy please discuss this at length with your physician so you can be sure the benefits to you are worth the risk that it poses to your baby. Based on the research I have done, it is much safer to take an SSRI such as sertraline when you are nursing as opposed to when you are pregnant. So take this into consideration when making your decision.

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