As you may have seen, there’s been a frenzy of media attention around a study published this month in JAMA Pediatrics. The study showed an increased risk of autism in the children of women who took a class of antidepressants, called SSRIs, while they were pregnant.
As a psychologist and a professor at Harvard Medical School, this media attention surprised me and other researchers in the field. That’s because there have actually been quite a few studies published on this topic; the JAMA study isn’t all that cutting-edge.
Still, I guess the good thing about this frenzy is that it has brought the controversy around pregnancy and SSRIs back into the public eye.
So what is my stance on the issue? Overall, the consistent criticism I have about the arguments for or against pregnant women taking antidepressant medication is the assumption that if one is depressed, the only options are medication or nothing. In fact, it’s actually perfectly reasonable in most cases to at least discuss other options.