(HealthDay News) — Having a longer maternity leave reduces a woman’s risk of postpartum depression, new research shows.The findings suggest that the maximum 12 weeks of maternity leave given to American mothers under federal law may be inadequate, according to the University of Maryland researchers.”In the United States, most working women are back to work soon after giving birth, with the majority not taking more than three months of leave,” study leader Dr. Rada Dagher said in a university news release.
(HealthDay News) — Children of mothers who take a widely used class of antidepressants during pregnancy are not at increased risk for autism, a large new study finds.
Autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects communication and social skills, is estimated to affect about one in 88 children in the United States.
Previous research has suggested that women who take antidepressants during pregnancy are up to five times more likely to have children with autism.
(HealthDay News) — Women who take certain antidepressants while pregnant do not raise the risk of a stillbirth or death of their baby in the first year of life, according to a large new study.
The findings stem from an analysis of birth outcomes in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden that included about 1.6 million babies born between 1996 and 2007. Close to 2 percent of the infants’ mothers — about 30,000 women — took prescription selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac (fluoxetine) and Paxil (paroxetine), for depressive symptoms during their pregnancy.
THE QUESTION How might an unborn child’s development be affected if the mother takes antidepressants during pregnancy?
THIS STUDY involved 7,696 pregnant women, most of them 27 to 30 years old. Of the 669 women in the group who had symptoms of depression, 570 women took no antidepressants, and 99 took selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) antidepressants. During pregnancy, those in the SSRI group had fewer depressive symptoms than the other 570 women. All participants in the study had periodic sonograms to measure fetal growth, including body weight and head size, which is considered an indicator of brain development. Among the women with untreated depression, fetal growth overall was slower compared with the fetuses of all other study participants. Among women who took SSRIs, fetal weight gain was not different but head sizes were the smallest, on average; their babies also were twice as likely to be born prematurely. No link was found between symptoms of depression and below-normal birth weight.