Taking Zoloft during pregnancy is only recently come into the media spotlight as potential harmful side effects and possible birth defects are becoming documented in association with this drug more and more. Typically once a woman becomes pregnant, the attending physician will instruct the new mother to curtail the ingestion of nearly all forms of medication along with alcohol, tobacco and some types of foods. Everything that the mother consumes can be transferred to the unborn fetus, resulting in some possibly very detrimental outcomes.
Although Zoloft and pregnancy are not considered a winning combination, sometimes the choice between the two is not very clear. The mother may be in an uphill battle if the Zoloft is being prescribed for very severe anxiety disorders or chronic depression. Though taking Zoloft during pregnancy can have some damaging effects on the child, other negative consequences may be possible as well if the mother is required to end the consumption of this antidepressant medication.
Stress and the Fetus
Patients who are prescribed Zoloft are in many cases trying to overcome a mental anxiety abnormality where higher amounts of stress and anxiety are a result. If the mother is not able to stabilize her mood disorders while pregnant without Zoloft, the added stress and anxiety could lead to increased heart rates, poor eating habits, and decreased immunity functions of the body, among many other possible negative effects. These can all lead to harming the baby as well.
Possible Birth Defects
There have been studies that indicate a direct relationship between Zoloft and pregnancy regarding possible birth defects and medical issues in newborn infants. A very common example is children being born with persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN). This can lead to the newborn infant having extreme difficulties in the ability to breathe on its own. 10% to 20% of babies born with this condition do not survive. Another connection has been discovered that Zoloft during pregnancy increases the risk of autism in children.
Zoloft and Pregnancy in the U.K
The United Kingdom considers the use of Zoloft during pregnancy to be so hazardous to the unborn child that they have since outlawed its use for all women while pregnant and while breastfeeding. Their studies show a direct relationship between the use of Zoloft during pregnancy and the number of children born with Atrial Septal Defect (ASD). This is more simplistically explained as a "hole in the heart".
The symptoms of this condition can include difficulty breathing, swollen arms, legs and other extremities, increased possibilities for infections and colic, as well as poor infant eating habits during breast feeding.