The use of SSRI drugs during pregnancy has reportedly been linked to a risk of birth defects in newborns. Lexapro, among others, belong to the SSRI class of antidepressants, and pregnant users of the drug may be at risk of delivering children with heart, skull or abdominal defects.
Types of Birth Defects
Research on antidepressants has revealed that women taking SSRIs like Lexapro during pregnancy may have an increased risk of delivering children with birth defects. The FDA has classified Lexapro into pregnancy category C, indicating that it could possibly harm an unborn child, particularly when taken in the third trimester of pregnancy.
These can be incredibly serious birth defects like craniosynostosis, a condition in which the sutures close too early, interfering with normal brain and skull growth. Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), a condition where parts of the left side of the heart do not develop properly, is also a risk, as is omphalocele, when the child’s intestines or other abdominal organs protrude through the navel.
Some of the other conditions babies whose mother's took Lexapro during pregnancy are at risk for include:
- Aorta coarctation
- Heart defects
- Transposition of the great arteries (TGA)
- Tetralogy of fallot (TOF)
- Ventricular septal defects (VSD)
- Club foot
- Spina bifida