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A recent report in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine indicates that use of a certain class of antidepressants by pregnant women may increase the risk of pre-term birth, a low 5-minute Apgar score (a measure of baby’s overall health), and admissions to the neonatal intensive care unit. According to the authors, "depression during pregnancy can be serious and has been associated with increased maternal mortality." For almost twenty years, pregnant women in many countries have been treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). In the recently reported study, though birth weight and head circumference did not differ, babies whose mothers used SSRIs were born an average of 5 days earlier, and were more likely to have a 5-minute Apgar score of at, or below, the minimum indicator of good infant health. The authors noted that earlier studies have shown that SSRIs readily cross the placenta of pregnant women, and appear in the umbilical cord blood of their babies. Pregnant women with depression may need treatment, but they and their doctors need to be aware of the potential effects of certain antidepressants on their babies.

Jamie Sheller, of Sheller, P.C., is litigating the first case in Philadelphia regarding birth defects caused by the drug Paxil. Sheller, P.C. has a long history of successfully representing individuals and classes of individuals who have been injured by pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

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