BRENTWOOD, TN – Experts at MotherToBaby, a service of the international non-profit Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS), call the recent New York Times article suggesting use of antidepressants during pregnancy is more harmful than previously thought “incomplete” and “weak.” The story takes a strong stance suggesting depression treatments during pregnancy may lead to more birth defects. “This kind of information can scare women into taking drastic measures, like stopping her medication suddenly,” said Julia Robertson, teratogen information specialist and MotherToBaby/OTIS Board of Director member. “The article fails to include the overwhelming research that supports treating mental illness during pregnancy, which may be a contributor to healthier pregnancy outcomes, compared with women who stop their treatment cold turkey,” she added.

The MotherToBaby/OTIS BOD strongly supports two responses to the NY Times article:

http://womensmentalhealth.org/posts/response-new-york-times-article-ssris-pregnancy-moving-toward-balanced-view-risk

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/seleni-institute/the-new-york-times-irresp_b_5761090.html

In addition, the MotherToBaby issued the following statement Monday to mothers and those planning pregnancies, in which the article has caused unnecessary anxiety:

To Concerned Moms,

Each day members of the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS), experts behind the MotherToBaby service, review the new information on medications that are used in pregnancy and while breastfeeding. When we look at the research studies we look at how well each study was done and we note the strengths and weaknesses. Many studies are done well, but many are not. The recent article on antidepressant use in pregnancy from the New York Times did not give a careful and a complete review of all the available studies. In looking at all the studies that have been completed in the last 30 years with more than 100,000 pregnancies in which the mother used an antidepressant, we conclude that if there is a risk for a birth defect, the risk is very low.

The experts at MotherToBaby are here to talk with you about the medications you are taking and to provide you with the most up-to-date information and research. Hundreds of women and their health care providers seek information about birth defect prevention from OTIS and MotherToBaby every year. Our personalized, FREE counseling service is just a phone call away at 1-866-626-6847.

You can also view our Fact Sheets,(under the Resources button) which summarize information about antidepressant use in pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Sincerely,

OTIS Board of Directors along with the OTIS Website and Public Affairs Committees.

MotherToBaby’s expertise is suggested by many agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).