SSRIs and Pregnancy

There are several situations where it may not be safe to take SSRIs, and pregnancy is one of them. The FDA has classified all SSRIs as pregnancy Category C medications, except paroxetine, which is a pregnancy Category D medication. This means that SSRIs have been shown to cause harm to the fetus in animal studies and in some humans. Because all SSRIs may cause problems when taken during the third trimester, be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant.

Are SSRIs Safe During Pregnancy?

For women who are pregnant, SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) may not be safe. This is based on human and animal studies that looked at the effects of SSRIs during pregnancy.
 

SSRIs and Pregnancy Category C or D

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a pregnancy category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. All SSRIs are classified as Category C medications, except paroxetine (Paxil®, Paxil CR®), which is a pregnancy Category D medication (see Paxil and Pregnancy for more information).
 
Pregnancy Category C is given to medicines that have not been studied in pregnant humans, but do appear to cause harm to the fetus in animal studies. Pregnancy Category D is given to medications that have been shown to cause harm to the fetus in humans. Of all SSRIs, paroxetine is most likely to cause birth defects (especially heart defects), although all SSRIs may cause problems when taken during the third trimester.
 
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