Is it safe to take Zoloft during pregnancy?

However, for some moms-to-be, Dr. Ross says the decision to continue an SSRI during pregnancy ultimately comes down to weighing the risks versus the benefits. 

Although the side effects of taking an SSRI while pregnant are generally minimal, Dr. Ross says there may be some potential side effects for the baby if taking the drug in the last trimester. These include jitters, irritability, poor feeding, hyperactive reflexes, low blood sugar, abnormal muscle tone, vomiting, seizures, and respiratory distress during the first month of life.

A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found that despite a slightly increased risk of certain birth defects from some SSRIs (paroxetine or fluoxetine), the actual risk among babies born to women taking one of these antidepressants is still very low. This is good news for moms-to-be who take sertraline since the study did not observe any link between birth defects and this drug. 

Some women wonder if SSRI use, like Zoloft, can make it harder to get pregnant or increase their risk of miscarriage once they are pregnant. Although any prescription medicine comes with risks, there are currently no studies that address the issue of infertility. 

There is also minimal information about the risk of miscarriage. One study found that the risk of miscarriage was similar between women exposed to SSRIs during early pregnancy and women who discontinued SSRI treatment before pregnancy. 

Should you stop taking Zoloft when you find out you’re pregnant? 

If you’re considering coming off of Zoloft during pregnancy, it’s critical that you do not stop taking it suddenly. “If you’re on a high dose of Zoloft and you stop it completely, you may experience adverse side effects and withdrawal,” says Julian Lagoy, MD, a psychiatrist at Community Psychiatry, in San Jose, California. That’s why he does not recommend stopping suddenly without talking to your provider. 

Although it is safest not to take any antidepressant medication while pregnant, Dr. Lagoy says it may be worse for both mother and baby to discontinue medications like Zoloft during pregnancy since this could potentially lead to worsening mood and anxiety symptoms. With that in mind, it’s important to discuss this issue with your healthcare team before making any decision regarding medications. They will be able to advise you on the safest options for your pregnancy.  | ← Previous | | | Next → |

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