Zoloft and Pregnancy

Updated on April 04, 2008
K.B. asks from Chicago, IL
20 answers

Hello,
Just wondering if any mom has taken zoloft While PG? and if so were there any side effects to your newborn?

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P.H.

answers from Bloomington on

Hello! I have battled with depression for many years & have been on & off a few different meds. When I got pregnant, I was on Paxil & my doctor suggested switching to Zoloft because it was a lower-risk medication. My son is now over 2yrs old & going through the terrible twos...but I don't think that has anything to do with Zoloft. LOL!!! He has had eating issues [GERD, picky eater], but I don't think this has anything to do with Zoloft. Good luck!

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C.F.

answers from Chicago on

I have had a more chronic problem with mild to moderate depression and moderate to severe anxiety. The only way I've been able to control this has been through use of Zoloft.

I am on a higher dose at 200mg a day. I've taken it (25-50mg at first) since my daughter was a baby, and she's five now. I continued this dose throughout my recent pregnancy. My doctors said to definitely continue taking it. They weren't worried about it at all.

My son is 5.5 months old now, I'm not a nervous wreck, and he's a bright, happy baby. He does have GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease/acid reflux), but this is common in my family. As I'm the only one who has taken Zoloft while pregnant, I'm pretty sure the GERD wasn't cause by this medication.

My daughter is autistic. I didn't start Zoloft until she was a couple months old. While I was breastfeeding, I again don't believe Zoloft caused this because this is another thing in my family. My brother has Asperger Syndrome, and I KNOW my mother didn't have Zoloft back then (or anything else, for that matter).

Like the doctors say, if it's something that you really need in order to function, don't stop taking it. Let me tell you, I had some MAJOR mood issues with the first pregnancy. This time around, these issues were less of a, well, issue! ;-) Seriously, though, I was able to handle the hormonal shifts much better.

Remember, Zoloft/sertraline is basically a seratonin supplement. (I'm not a pharm., but this is as I understand it.) In someone like me, there isn't enough seratonin. When it gets out of balance, you experience these kinds of symptoms. It's like a diabetic who needs insulin. If you need it, you need it.

I think people would be well advised to remember that in days gone by, people with these kinds of disorders/syndromes didn't have these resources, and they'd end up in bad ways--unless their families had big money. It's sad that people today look at mental/emotional disorders as something different than a metabolic or cardiac condition as far as the need to treat appropriately.

If you look into homeopathic solutions, be sure to clear them with your doctor first. "All natural" doesn't mean "all safe." Poison Ivy is "all natural," if you catch my meaning. I'm not against homeopathic support, but you need to be careful. Also, don't mix herbal supplements with prescription meds without first making sure it's safe. St. John's Wort is not safe with most antidepressants, for example.

Again, I'm not against "natural remedies." I just choose to maintain a healthy respect for what's safe and what isn't.

Good luck. I hope things work out just fine! :-)

2 moms found this helpful

K.L.

answers from Chicago on

Hi K.,
Here is a website for you. Your baby will be fine I am sure, but I feel the need to share this with others on zoloft who may experiencing what I have with dependancy.
http://www.zoloft-side-effects-lawyer.com/

As far as pregnancy, I had been on zoloft for 13yrs and the moment I found out I was pregnant I stopped taking it. I was fine for 2 weeks and then I got some major withdrawl in the form of severe anxiety and depression. I had to go back on it because I was not able to function and didn't want to eat. It took me a month or so to pull out of it. I consulted a psychiatrist and she assured me it would be safe to take zoloft while pregnant and that very little gets into the breast milk. She also pointed out that this wasn't the time to go off of it. Later after my postpartum period had passed and if I was doing well, then I could explore going off of it. I am still on it and my daughter was born last year very healthy. She is exclusively breastfed and growing and developing beautifully. I'm grateful.

I prayed a lot and got prayer and just had to put it in God's hands. I also took an Omega fish oil supplement by nordic naturals that is very beneficial to pregnant and lactating women (DHA). Great for the baby's nervous system development as well.

I also read an article in Pregnancy and Newborn early last year while pregnant about this very subject. Here is a quote and the reason why I had to put it in God's hands and just pray for my daughter:

"A recent study in The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine looked at withdrawal syndrome, not in the womb, but in newborns whose moms were on antidepressants. It confirmed that 30 percent of the newborns in their study experienced withdrawal, or what they call "neonatal abstinence syndrome'" where symptoms ranged from high-pitched crying to tremors to disturbed sleep. While Kaufman acknowledges that is a small risk, she says it's not as serious a withdrawal that we generally associate with harder drugs. "It's not coke-but it can cause discomfort to your baby," she says. And though studies like this one on antidepressant use and pregnancy are few and far between, Kaufman says the little research that has been done isn't showing a lot of significant side effects."

It basically goes on to say that many feel the benefits outweigh the risks. I feel it's important to ask these questions. Good for you. I can try to scan and email this article to anyone who would like it.

I am not happy to be on zoloft--I resent it but the withdrawal is such that I don't know how to go off of it.One other note. Years back my mother would always say that my withdrawal was in my head, that it was mind over matter and I experienced it bc I knew I was going off the drug. I tried to convince her that was not the case. Also, psychiatrists tell me that what I am experiencing is life off of zoloft and that it proves I obviously still need to be on it. They really believe that! I don't accept that. Life before zoloft didn't include constant anxiety with an inability to function at all.

My mom actually found the above website with information that supports the fact that people DO experience withdrawal from zoloft; the symptoms that I experience. Not all people, but enough. Pfizer has had to admit this and reword some of their literature. My mom believes me now! If you experience zoloft withdrawal like severe mood swings, anxiety, headache, nausea, weird muscle restlessness in your lower back to the point you can't sleep even when you are exhausted, etc., you are not alone.

Also, a quote on PAXIL: "Pregnant women seem increasingly comfortable taking antidepressant medications; use of these drugs in pregnancy has risen since the late '90s. But new research on antidepressants shows that taking the drug Paxil during pregnancy doubles the risk of having children with potentially fatal birth defects, confirming earlier studies." Beware of Paxil.

God Bless!!! Anyone who has more info on zoloft pls contact me with it. I want off this stuff!! I believe my depression can be managed with other means.

I'd also like to add that if you are on it for post-partum or something, don't just stop bc of what I've said. I believe it can be beneficial but only if taken for a brief period. Try not to be on it for longer than a period of months.

2 moms found this helpful
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K.

answers from Chicago on

Hi K.-

I was on zoloft while pregnancy w/my youngest who is now 5. My ob said there were no side effects that could affect your pregnancy - he also told me that I would be worse off if I did not take it (I take it for anxiety). I would definitely stay on it if your OB agrees.

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K.M.

answers from Chicago on

hi there,
I first want to share a story with you about me and then ask a few questions that go into more detail about you and the medication. About 4 yrs ago I found out I was pregnant. Not ready for pregnancy and fell into a semi depression... sad about it but also excited. My ob/gyn perscribed me zoloft. I was about 3 months into the pregnancy by this time. For me I've always been afraid of taking medications for any reason because I didn't like the effects of it after you got off of them. (i witnessed it in my own siblings). I took one pill the first day. I don't know if I'm just very quick to feel change because I rarely take even asprin or advil. I didn't like how I felt. I delt with my fears and my depression instead of taking the medication. Just as I had in any other scenario if I had not been pregnant. It was the right choice for me. Now for sharing with you my own story. I wanted to ask you if you had been taking the medication before pregnancy also and are needing to continue. Or did you get prescribed it while pregnant? I don't believe that your doctor would prescribe you the medication if they didn't feel your unborn wouldn't be safe. It is truely your decision even if you were prescribed the meds. For me my solutions have been reading books that helped prepair me for motherhood, I also did a heck of a lot of journaling. And, even 3 years later my daughter is here we've been through so much together, and I'm still taking care of theses feelings. But remember your judgement also matters. If you feel you are in the need to help with any of the anxiety/depressed feelings then it might be smart for you and your baby to take the meds. I hope that this helps you make a clear decision. Take care and the best of luck and love with you and yours!

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K.E.

answers from Chicago on

I am a counselor who specializes in women's support and work specifically with many women who struggle with issues of depression during and after pregnancy. I have known women who took low doses of Zoloft during pregancy, because they felt that the emotional help that it provided was so necessary that it outweighed the potential risks of taking a psychotropic medication while pregnant. I am happy to report that these women all had healthy pregnancies and babies and felt that the medication assisted them in getting through the pregancy and into motherhood in a vital way. I do recommend that anyone who takes a mood medication see a counselor at the same time. This can help lessen the amount of time that the medication is needed. If you have not begun seeing anyone I would be happy to offer my services if you are interested. I practice out of Schaumburg and my email is [email protected]____.com. Please feel free to contact me any time.

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M.B.

answers from Chicago on

While some doctors will tell you there are not any serious side effects to anti-depressant drugs like Zoloft there is evidence that they can be harmful to you and your child. You should visit Web sites like www.mercola.com to help you understand the damage that drugs like these do to your body. Try to see if there are more natural ways to heal your body from depression, etc. Good Luck with your decision!

Note: A very dear friend had two miscarriages while taking an anti-depressant. We don't know if that was the primary reason she miscarried but we don't think it helped the situation.

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C.C.

answers from Springfield on

Hi K.! I have taken Zoloft during 2 pregnancies with no problems. With the first pregnancy I did wean down to a lower dose, from 50mg to 25mg. I have stayed on the 25mg ever since and it has been effective for me. I didn't notice any side effects to my babies, who are now almost 3 years and 7 months. They are very healthy with no problems! I don't know how I would've gotten through all the stresses of pregnancy and motherhood without the Zoloft! Hope this helped you!

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A.T.

answers from Chicago on

Hi, K..

Zoloft is one of the safest antidepressants to take while pregnant. Depression runs in my family, so although I've worked for years to deal with depression triggers with great success, my body chemistry leaves me no choice but to use medication. I had a long discussion with my doctor before becoming pregnant, and we both agreed that the benefits far outweighed the risks for me due to all of the hormonal changes with pregnancy. After birth, we never noticed any problems with my son, not even withdrawal symptoms. I'm pregnant again, and am still on the Zoloft. I expect no problems with this child either. More to the point, look at what is causing your depression and the severity of it. Is this a minor issue that can be easily solved, or is it likely to worsen? What are the benefits to you and the baby versus the risks? I'll share a great quotation from my doctor. "It's healthiest for the baby to have a healthy mother." Hope this helps.

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M.M.

answers from Springfield on

I took Zoloft during my pregnancy and so far during my almost 9 months of breastfeeding. My daughter is happy, healthy, in the 98th percentile for height and weight, she's almost crawling and says "dada, "grand-dad" and "ona" (her sister's name). She is so happy, sociable and seems to be really smart. She interacts, recognizes and has been reaching developmental milestones right on time.

Pregnancy is a really emotionally challenging time. If you are prone to mood swings and other bouts of depression, it may be helpful for you to continue taking it for now. After the baby is born, those hormones go even crazier, and I really feel that Zoloft helped me not have the dramatic post-partum depression that I had after my first was born.

Bottom line, if this is something that helps you get through your day and not feel horrible, maybe you could continue it but at aa lower dosage.

just talk to your ob, and if you have a pediatrician picked out, it may also be helpful to talk to them and get their impression.

Good luck!

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J.R.

answers from Chicago on

Hi Kelle,

the fact is, nobody really knows for sure. some studies say there is a link, some say not. we have to sift thru the info and consider which studies may be biased. i prefer to use march of dimes for these things... http://www.marchofdimes.com/pnhec/188_15663.asp

i suppose it boils down to whether or not your depression is clinical or just mild... how far along you are and what risk your depression poses to your little boy, the new baby and you. the benefit (in my opinion) has to far outweigh the risks.

i stopped taking my paxil when i found out i was pregnant.... i am back on it post partum...

talk with your doctor... and a therapist to see if the need for medication is truly warranted during this time.

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K.G.

answers from Chicago on

Hi K., I was on zoloft (50 mg) prior to and during my pregnancy. It is a pretty low dose and my doctor thought that the benefit of me being on it definitely outweighed the risks, especially since it was my first pregnancy and I was pretty anxious as it was. However, my daughter had colic and gastroesophageal reflux BAD and I sometimes wonder if that was one of the side effects, even though the doctors reassure me it is not from being on Zoloft - it is hard not to question it. I breastfed her for 9 months, so it is not like she was going through withdrawl or anything, but she was a very irritable infant. She is now 15 months old and the doctors say she is fine, developing well, hitting all her milestones perfectly. I wonder if I will stay on it with baby number 2.... my husband and I talk about it all the time... it is a very hard decision to make, just make sure you discuss it with your doctors, do research and don't feel guilty if you need to take it. It may be best for you and baby. Good luck with whatever decision you make. Take care.

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A.S.

answers from Chicago on

I took 50 mg through my pregnancy ....my baby is now 2 weeks old. I have not seen any side effects. I was on 150 mg prior to pregnancy and my doctor said there are some studies that lead them to believe that it can cause a couple things.....one is fussiness/difficulty feeding due to withdrawal (I may have avoided this because I am nursing so he is still getting a little) and there are some inconclusive studies possibly linking it with some heart defects, but I did not see that at all with my son. My baby was breech but I don't think that has anything to do with it. If you don't feel you can function without it, it is best to just try to lower your dosage. Talk to your doctor and get their opinion...if they think you should continue, it is probably best you did.

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T.B.

answers from Chicago on

I did take zoloft during my most recent pregnancy-2 yrs ago
NO Side Affects!!! I normally take 150 mlg but I did reduce down to 50mg just in case because I wasn't sure either. This wasn't enough so after about a month I went to 100mg. The doctors say nothing is certain but they don't want to be liable. Several studies show no side effects and I did not experience any either except when I wasn't taking it I was miserable and that can be even more dangerous!

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J.G.

answers from Chicago on

I have a friend who was told that her antidepressants would not harm her fetus, and she had a seemingly normal baby. But her child always seemed a little on the slow side of things developmentally, and also physically. It did not become really evident until she hit about 3. The specialists that she works with now say that they think there is a link between the drug use and these types of problems, but that there is not enough long term study to support that. She was not chronically depressed, and would have stopped taking it during the pregnancy had she been advised as such.
I recently started taking Zoloft (generic) myself and it states all over the insert that it is known to cause harm to the fetus and that you should also not take it while breast feeding. I have deen told that antidepressants should not be used long term except for chronic cases, that the idea is to gradually wean off of them. I recently weaned my son and have had severe PMS. I was also advised to exercise at least 4 times a week (a recent study showed that this has nearly the same effect on mood regluation as antidepressants) and to take calicum supplements as well.

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C.D.

answers from Peoria on

I have and all three of my kids have turned out great. So far so good. :) I was told it would be better for my kids to be on it then to go off and have even worse post-partum. I don't know if that helps at all. Good luck.

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N.G.

answers from Chicago on

Hi, I took Effexor while pregnant and nursing. There were no side effects for the baby. Just night sweats for me. But I really did feel quite a bit better.

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A.

answers from Chicago on

I took 100mg of Zoloft throughout my second pregnancy. My daughter turned out wonderfully (she is almost 3 years old). She was always at the top of the growth charts, is very smart, and was a very calm & sweet baby.

I am not saying Zoloft is safe one way or the other, but everything turned out wonderful in my situation. I guess everyone is different.

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A.

answers from Chicago on

I would suggest talking to your doctor more in depth, but Zoloft is actually supposed to be the ONLY antidepressant/anti-anxiety medication that doesn't cross bloodstreams. It is supposed to be safe for pregnant and breastfeeding moms and it is prescribed at low doses to children. Most psychotropics are not safe and pregnant moms are pulled off or changed right away due to side effects. The only one I have noticed in my work (as a counselor) is some women have increased depressive symptoms while pregnant and on it. Not all, just some...

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K.S.

answers from Chicago on

I am actually going today to find out if I am pregnant, but, I was told by my regular care doctor and my OB/GYN that there should not be any negative effects to my baby! I haven't been taking any chances and stopped taking my meds. I only take them for a mild mood control and I can blame my pregnancy hormones for any of that now. (Well, if it is positive.)

I would defiantely talk to your healthcare provider. Zoloft has been around for so long now that there should be documented evidence to prove one way or another if it is safe to be taken during pregnancy.

Good luck!

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