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Antidepressants and Conception

Q: My doctor put me on Prozac for depression over a year ago. Now we want to have a baby. I have not been able to conceive and have been trying for four months. Could it be the Prozac? I have a child who is four years old so we know we can get pregnant. Am I just worrying too much?

Dr. Donnica:
The definition of a fertility problem is not being able to conceive despite regular, well-timed intercourse over a 12-month period. So far, your worries are premature! It is always wise to discuss plans to become pregnant with your doctor, and to review any risk factors you have, and especially to review the effects your medications may have on getting pregnant, having a healthy pregnancy, and breastfeeding.

There is no evidence that any of the most popular antidepressants have any impact on fertility. Depression itself, however, may decrease fertility. As for safety during pregnancy, most anti-depressants are rated by the FDA as "Pregnancy Category C." This means that there is insufficient data to make conclusions about safety in pregnancy. While most anti-depressants do get into the breast milk, untoward affects on babies have not been shown. As a result, most antidepressants are not on the list of no-no's for nursing moms. You may want to discuss this with your doctor if you plan to breast feed and see what s/he recommends. If you were going to switch medications because of this, it may make sense to switch before you get pregnant.

For more information about depression, click here.

Created: 3/8/2003  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.
Reviewed: 12/8/2003  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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