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In a recent study led by Dr. Lisa A. Croen, senior researcher and director of the Autism Research Program at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, researchers found that the “use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) by pregnant women may increase autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in their offspring” (Brauser).

The study explains that when evaluating 1800 children, researchers found a 2 fold increased risk for ASD among mothers who used an SSRI during the year before delivery and a 3 fold increased risk if taken during the first trimester of pregnancy. Also, there was no increase in ASD with pregnant women with mental illness, but not using SSRIs (Brauser).

In my opinion, the tone of the article reiterates what the entire medical community does – they refuse to take a stronger stance or issue strong warnings in regards to SSRI use during pregnancy. Not to mention that SSRIs are associated with cardiovascular/ heart valve complications. Throughout the article Dr. Croen uses words like “modestly increased” are used. Also, she offers other explanations, like the genetic predisposition to depression and that the same genes may be associated with autism. Obviously she cannot or would not recommend anyone change or adjust their treatment, but one would think she would have a little more of a voice concerning the results of her study, and perhaps suggest that is something people consider.

Now this is not to say that depression, especially severe depression should not be taken or handled seriously. However, we are not giving any credence in less severe cases to naturopathic approaches.

This would include:

  • Increase doses of essential fatty acids
  • Evaluation of B12 levels
  • Deep breathing
  • Dealing with troubled relationships
  • Diet
  • Quality multi-vitamins
  • Other nutrients that can be used safely during pregnancy

We have a very high level of acceptance of the use of pharmaceuticals with the treatment of depression. I simply wonder how much this is affecting our offspring.

“Mom’s Antidepressant Use Linked to Autism Risk in Children” by Deborah Brauser, July 6, 2011

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