Anti-depressive Treatment During Pregnancy Can Affect Newborn Brain Activity 

According to a study out of the University of Helsinki in Finland, fetal exposure to commonly used SRI drugs may affect brain activity in newborns. Depression and anxiety are typically treated with SRI drugs that affect brain serotonin metabolism. These drugs are well-tolerated and considered safe to use during pregnancy, because they are not seen to cause major malformations. It seems safe for the mother, but may not be so for the baby.

The researchers compared 22 mothers using SRI medication and 62 mothers without medication as the control.

One researcher noted, “We found many changes in the brain activity of SRI-exposed newborns. Since the changes did not correlate with the mother’s psychiatric symptoms, we have assumed that they resulted as a side effect of maternal drug treatment.”

A previous study already revealed that early SRI exposure may result in microscopic changes in fetal brain structure, as well as altered neuronal signaling. One side effect of which is respiratory problems during the first days of life. Structured behavioral and neurological assessments of the newborns showed only minor effects from fetal SRI exposure; however, brain electrical activity exhibited several differences between the study groups. The most important relate to less-organized communication between brain hemispheres, as well as weaker synchronization between cortical rhythms. These findings did not correlate with the scores on maternal depression or anxiety, according to the study.

raziRazi Berry, Founder and Publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review ( and NaturalPath (, has spent the last decade as a natural medicine advocate and marketing whiz. She has galvanized and supported the naturopathic community, bringing a higher quality of healthcare to millions of North Americans through her publications. A self-proclaimed health-food junkie and mother of two; she loves all things nature, is obsessed with organic gardening, growing fruit trees (not easy in Phoenix), laughing until she snorts, and homeschooling. She is a little bit crunchy and yes, that is her real name.

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