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Antidepressants Linked to Preterm Birth Risk

Depressed women who receive treatment at risk for lower gestational age, preterm infant

FRIDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnant women treated with antidepressants are more likely to have a preterm infant or one with a lower gestational age than women who are depressed but are not given medication, according to a report in the August issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Rita Suri, M.D., of the UCLA Mood Disorder Research Program in Los Angeles, and colleagues followed 90 women through pregnancy. Forty-nine women with depression were treated with antidepressants (group 1), 22 women had depression but did not receive antidepressants (group 2), and 19 women did not have depression.

The mean gestational age at birth was 38.5, 39.4, and 39.7 weeks for groups 1, 2 and 3, respectively. The preterm birth rate was 14.3, 0 and 5.3 percent, respectively, and rates of admission to the special care unit were 21, 9 and 0 percent, respectively.

"These results suggest that medication status, rather than depression, is a predictor of gestational age at birth," the authors conclude.

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