I'm wondering if anyone out there has experience with taking zoloft during pregnancy? I'm 23 weeks with number 2, and DD is only 16 months, and I'm having a harder time coping than i expected. I've dealt with depression on and off my whole life, but this is the first time I've actually felt as though the anti-depressants could really help me. My midwife, who I trust completely, says she's comfortable prescribing Zoloft, but there's always a risk with everything when pregnant. Any good/bad experiences on here I should know about before making my decision?
- topicPregnancytagged by System, 2/4/12
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zoloft during pregnancy?post #1 of 182/3/12 at 7:09pmThread Starterpost #2 of 182/5/12 at 3:18pm
I took zoloft while pregnant with my second child. I took prozac while pregnant with my first. I had been on anti depressants prior to each pregnancy and took whatever one the dr felt research said was safest during pregnancy at that time....my children are now 7 and 5 yrs old and completely healthy and smart. I struggled with my decisions to take the meds while pregnant but I had had such severe anxiety/depression for so many years and i figured I could take care of myself better and be a healthier mother on them than not. I am currently pregnant with baby #3 and not on anything but if i struggled like i did with the first two pregnancies i would consider meds again.... i see the commercials on tv for lawsuits concerning babies being born with birth defects whose mothers took zoloft, paxil, prozac,etc. and i feel some guilt. My children are healthy but what if they had been born with a problem because of the meds? Was i lucky and blessed or do they maybe have a heart defect i dont know about? ( the commercials say the meds could cause heart defects). All in all the conclusion i come to is I did what I did at the time to survive my circumstances and to be the healthiest mentally, emotionally, and physically that i could for my babies and it was it was a decision that was as informed as i could make at that time and it was made with the best of intentions for my baby......Dont know if any of this helps you but its my experience with antidepressants and pregnancy. You are the only other mom ive ever talked to about this! Good luck!post #3 of 182/6/12 at 3:33pm
I am definitely not trying to scare you or imply what you should do......but there was a recent ASSOCIATION (meaning causation not determined, in other words, it isn't saying if it's coincidence among certain women with certain behaviors/genes or that the drugs cause this) between mothers using antidepressants (SSRIs) and their babies being more likely to be born with autism. The numbers I am remembering are a little over 3% chance in general population that child is born with autism, vs 6.7% (?) among women who used SSRIs right before or during pregnancy. I'm sure it would easy to find this recent study, if you google "ssri autism study". The fact that SSRIs seem to help some autistic children adds a further "hmmm" of suspicion.
ANYWAYS, the risk may be greater if they are taken near beginnings of the pregnancy? I just don't know. I do have a friend that took an SSRI, and her daughter seems perfect. :) Obviously many women do it.
I bring all this up because I personally made the decision to not go on an SSRI, knowing I would get pregnant soon. And I have been on many of those drugs in the past, so I have nothing against them. Have taken Zoloft, Prozac, etc etc. At this point in my life, I "know" my depression and mood issues, and I know I can continue to tolerate them during pregnancy. I know how I am on something vs off something, and it isn't such a difference that it's worth it to me, right now. Actually, now that I am pregnant, I have been feeling much better, though the depression is still there, and so are the mood swings. I am guessing I'll go on something once I'm finished having my babies. BUT it is truly a personal decision. Not trying to induce any fear-based decision making here, just trying to make sure you are aware of everything, because it's one of those things where you could say, "I wish someone would have told me....." Good luck either way.post #4 of 182/7/12 at 9:35amThread Starter
I appreciate both of your responses. It really is a tough decision, where do we draw the line between our own health and well being and that of our babies. I think after talking to many people and doing some research -that although it seems to be pretty safe, there's enough of a "hmmmm" factor to make me hesitate. I'm going to try vitamin D supplementation (we live in a very gray state) daily exercise, and I'm finding some childcare for DD so that I can get a break. Hopefully this will help, and if things only get worse, then I'll give the zoloft a shot. thanks again!post #5 of 182/7/12 at 3:27pm
That sounds like a good plan. At least you would be putting off the drug until even later in the pregnancy, if you decide to use it. That would be my logic. I think it is probably okay though. Def go on it postpartum if you need it!!!!!! I think you just have to go with your gut, trust your intuition. I hesitated to say anything because I didn't want to sway you. :( Usually when people are asking questions, it means they "need" (meaning, it's appropriate) the drug and are ready to be on it...that's my experience in life...but of course pregnancy presents a diff consideration.
Also, walks outside help, even if it's really grey, at least you get what's getting through the clouds. Try to get outside daily. And if it happens to be sunny, even for like 15 min, get outside and get it on your face (just don't hurt your eyes!). That is what I did when living close to the Great Lakes.post #6 of 182/8/12 at 7:20am
I'm 23 weeks as well, and struggling with depression. I made the decision in the summer to go off zoloft (which I had been on for over two years with PPD from my first) because I didn't want to be on it when I TTC. I was doing well then the hormones and tiredness that is normal for early pregnancy seemed to not get a whole lot better and I was struggling a lot.
It's so hard to tell what is just a hard pregnancy, actual depression, and seasonal suckyness (It is grey and cold here). I have added b-complex, omega-3 and a blu light and am trying to get out and walk everyday. I think the light is helping me get going in the mornings but it is still hard, and I am not my usual self.
I think about going on antidepressants but then get super anxious about what the effects can be so that's not going to help me... I guess I don't have any advice just commiseration. It will soon be spring and the babies will be here before we know it (and there are lots of antidepressants that are OK for when you are breastfeeding).post #7 of 182/8/12 at 4:27pmpost #8 of 182/13/12 at 5:52pm
Hi. I'm glad you asked this question! I am having similar concerns. I am currently on Zoloft (actually on its generic, sertraline) and about 8 weeks along with my 3rd pregnancy, but am really hoping to get off the medication soon if I can. Since I have not experienced taking Zoloft - or any med like it - during a pregnancy, I feel a little worried. A PP mentioned heart defects; that's what I have read about, that there is a (low) risk for heart and lung issues when taking Zoloft during the third trimester. My problem is weaning off of it - it is really hard, the side effects seem worse than the depression in the first place. So, that is my 2 cents for anyone considering going on it. I say that also, as another PP mentioned, not to scare or induce any fear-inspired decision making, but I really DO wish someone had told me how hard it was going to be to wean off of them. Your plans sound wonderful, and I wish you the greatest luck - I think that the fact that you are asking and researching like this before you pursue treatment is awesome!post #9 of 182/20/12 at 9:59am
I went off Celexa as soon as I got a positive test. I am now 15 weeks and I'm struggling a lot with anxiety and depression, mostly related to work stress. I'm a middle school teacher, and my daily duties are stressful enough. However, I had a recent conflict with an administrator and another teacher and it's making me dread going to work. I can't stop crying. I feel pretty hopeless.
That study about autism scares the hell out of me. I am terrified of doing something to the baby's brain chemistry before birth. I don't judge those who have made the decision and i almost wish someone would just make the decision for me so I could feel better.post #10 of 182/20/12 at 6:24pm
I took Zoloft starting at the end of my first or beginning of my second trimester with my third pregnancy. My DS1 was only 9 months old or so at the time and I was really struggling. For me, there really wasn't a choice in the matter, I needed something or else I couldn't function. It had started as PPD after DS1 was born and lingered into the pregnancy. Anyway, I took Zoloft all through my third pregnancy and throughout DS2 breastfeeding. I have not noticed any side effects in him. In fact, my only complaint about Zoloft is that I have been completely unable to lose the baby weight and have gained some to boot (I am still taking it). Otherwise, I'm very very happy with my decision to take it during my pregnancy. Best of luck!!post #11 of 182/21/12 at 11:15amQuote:
Yes! Definitely. Me too.post #12 of 182/24/12 at 4:41pmThread Starter
It's so nice to know that there's others out there battling the same decision. Coming from a long line of family members with severe depression, I know that there comes a time for some people, that there is simply no alternative, and being a healthy functioning person far out way the low risks of fetus abnormalities. I've continued to speak with many others who have successfully taken Zoloft during pregnancy with no issues, and although there's a risk with ANYTHING in pregnancy, I feel now like when or if I get to that point I can feel good with my decision. As of right now, I have managed to stick with my plan of eating better, getting regular exercise, and most importantly DD started a daycare two days a week to give me a break and it's made a HUGE difference in my mood. I do however plan on beginning Zoloft as soon as the birth occurs because I was so borderline post-partum with number one. Thanks for all of your responses and I wish you all luck as well!post #13 of 184/13/12 at 12:34pm
I finally went off the zoloft at the end of the second trimester. It is difficult to evaluate a lot of the data out there because much of it is for "SSRIs" including zoloft, and doesn't break down the various infrequent abnormalities into groups according to which SSRI they are associated with. The big side effect seems to be the pulmonary hypertension in the newborn, which is pretty rare, but serious. From what I have dug up, it seems that that is associated with a different SSRI (Paxil maybe?) and not zoloft.
I think too, consider dose and frequency of administration of the med in making your choices to continue it or not.
I met with a genetic counselor during this pregnancy, and discussed zoloft a bit. From her perspective (counseling people in regard to congenital problems) she felt that zoloft was safe to take during pregnancy, and I should not worry.
You may see ads on TV and on line for a class action lawsuit against zoloft makers brought by people who's babies had congenital problems. I saw one of these and of course it freaked me out. I dug a bit more into this lawsuit and it seems that again, they are lumping Zoloft in with all the other SSRI's, basically saying this whole class of drugs causes problems (which doesn't necessarily appear to be the case) so if your baby was born with a problem and you were taking zoloft, this is why blah blah blah.
Much of the research I found showed that the problems associated with the SSRI's occurred at about the same frequency that they occur spontaneously in the population. And Zoloft seems safer than most of the other SSRIs.
Its Ironic, I decided to go off of it because I had so much anxiety about it all (Even thought he medical/scientist part of me is 100% comfortable with the data) but the whole reason I take it is because of anxiety. Man.
The other thing, several types of problems that people claim are caused by the SSRIs are things that could be noted in a mid-pregnancy ultrasound with an anatomic screen. I had an US at 20 weeks and baby had normal anatomy. This helped reduce my anxiety that first trimester use of zoloft would have caused a problem for baby. (Again, I am not sold an any evidence that zoloft causes problems).
In my second pregnancy, I was prescribed zoloft in the second half of pregnancy, all was fine.
Its super complicated and stressful, especially if anxiety is involved. But the numbers out there are very comforting in regards to zoloft use during pregnancy.
Perhaps you could ask to meet with a prenatal counselor/genetic counselor to discuss the issue?
Good luck. i hope you continue to feel OK during the pregnancy.
NDpost #14 of 184/13/12 at 2:22pm
I'm taking it. I have been on it for about 7 months now and it has really helped me. I'm only 5 weeks pregnant and I plan to continue taking it throughout my pregnancy. My anxiety was MUCH worse without it, and I already have 2 toddlers that need me, so I am going to keep taking my Zoloft for health of myself and my children. My PCP told me it was okay to take it during pregnancy, so I'm trusting that info and trying to not obsess to much about it. I do understand it's a hard choice. Hugs to you.post #15 of 184/13/12 at 7:28pmI was on Lexapro for my first pregnancy and now Celexa (very similar) with this pregnancy. It would be much worse for me to be off the medication than the percentage of possible risk. It has changed me so much for the better. My anxiety was out of control before it.
I have read (from a dr sears source i believe) that out of all the SSRI meds that Zoloft carries the lowest risk.
I note to anyone taking these meds: the doctor I saw who prescribed Lexapro before my first pregnancy advised me to stop taking the medication a week before my due date. Not knowing any better I followed his instructions and the day after we went home with the baby I was back in the ER with severe panic attacks. He was supposed to be an expert in post partum issues too! SSRIs take a long long time to taper from. And those with anxiety and depression are at higher risk for post partum issues. Needless to say I don't see that dr anymore! I have no idea if other doctors might recommend that but I just wanted to give a warning because it was a bad situation.post #16 of 184/13/12 at 10:02pm
I was taking it when I got pregnant with my first daughter, and decided to stop when I found out I was pregnant, just because that's what I was most comfortable with. The only thing I would say (and I don't think this is a reason not to take it, just something you should know) is that the withdrawal from quitting it was HORRIBLE, and you can expect your baby to deal with some of those side effects for a couple of weeks. I do NOT say this as a reason for you not to consider medication. I only say it to emphasize the importance of breastfeeding, since if my understanding is correct (that Zoloft is excreted in bm), then the baby would still be getting a small dose from breastmilk, which may help reduce any withdrawal symptoms. Honestly, I haven't heard of anyone's baby having big problems with SSRI withdrawal, but it's just something to be aware of.post #17 of 184/14/12 at 9:26pm
I just met with my GP and am now on 25 mg of Zoloft. I do think I see a little improvement, even though it's a non therapeutic dose. Doc said, even if it's placebo affect, who cares. Will go up to 50 in a week if I'm still feeling I need it. I am feeling better about things and about my pregnancy now that I know I have a plan to handle my depression. Feeling pretty calm about the risks vs. benefits.post #18 of 189/7/12 at 10:31am
Hi everyone.. I too am struggling with this decision. I have been on 10-20 mg of paxil for many years for depression and anxiety. When I found out I was expecting, my dr switched my medication to 25mg of zoloft. I am now six months pregnant and so far eveything looks fine however, for the past few weeks i have been struggling with the decision to increase my dosage because I have been feeling worse. I have decided that after trying to do other things like yoga and walking (which help temporarily) that I will increase my meds to 50 mg. I rather be mentally healthy and take care of myself during this time than continue feeling depressed and not care for myself and risk losing my unborn baby.
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