Taking SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy increases the risks of certain birth defects, including heart birth defects.
A congenital heart defect or cardiac birth defect occurs when the heart of a fetus fails to properly develop.
One of these heart defects is PPHN or persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn. PPHN is life-threatening as the newborn’s arteries to the lungs remain constricted after delivery, limiting the amount of blood flow to the lungs and the amount of oxygen into the bloodstream.
In a recent study, mothers to be who took SSRI antidepressants after the 20th week of pregnancy were six times more likely to have PPHN than infants born to mothers who didn’t take antidepressants during their pregnancy.
Coarctation of the aorta is another heart birth defect. Coarctation of the aorta also known as COA is when the aorta narrows like an hourglass. Blood pressure increases above the narrow spot, and the left ventricle must pump harder because the pressure is so high. Narrowing causes abnormal blood flow and a decrease in blood flow to the lower part of the body.
About half of newborns with COA will have symptoms in the first few days of life. Aortic coarctation can be a life-threatening congenital defect if left untreated. Coarctation of the aorta can be cured with surgery.
However, there is an increased risk for death due to heart problems among those who have had their aorta repaired. Most of the time, surgery to fix the coarctation is done during infancy.
Narrowing or coarctation of the artery can return after surgery. This is more likely in persons who had surgery as a newborn.
Please contact the personal injury law firm Anapol Schwartz to find out what your legal options are regarding congenital heart defects and your baby’s pain and suffering and medical expenses from taking antidepressants during pregnancy.