A major new study has indicated that mothers' use of antidepressants during early pregnancy does not increase the risk of their children developing autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Conducted by Indiana University in collaboration with the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, the research drew upon data on all live births in Sweden from 1996 to 2012.
“Mothers who use antidepressants in early pregnancy will not experience an increased risk of autism or ADHD in their children, according to a new study.“
Assessing data for more than 1.5 million infants, the results offered significant evidence to suggest only a slight increase in the risk for premature birth among mothers who used antidepressants during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Meanwhile, after controlling for multiple other risk factors, no increased risk of autism, ADHD or reduced foetal growth was seen among exposed offspring. As such, any higher rates of these problems may be more attributable to family factors, such as genetics or environmental differences, as opposed to antidepressant use.
Brian D'Onofrio, professor in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences' department of psychological and brain sciences, said: "This is one of the strongest studies to show that exposure to antidepressants during early pregnancy is not associated with autism, ADHD or poor foetal growth, when taking into account the factors that lead to medication use in the first place."
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