Research projects

Maternal and infant outcomes following antidepressant exposure in pregnancy

Principal researcher

Dr Megan Galbally1 
Associate Professor Andrew Lewis2
Professor Anne Buist3
Professor Marie-Paule Austin4

Institution

1 Mercy Hospital for Women
2 Deakin University
3 University of Melbourne
4 University of New South Wales

Funding

$216,587

Award type

National Priority Driven Research Program

Project completion year

2014

Key messages

  • Depression in pregnancy is associated with poorer outcomes for women, the developing mother-infant relationship and for infant development.
  • Evidence for treatments in pregnancy that prevent postnatal depression and improve infant outcomes are limited.
  • While women in this study on antidepressants had lower levels of depressive symptoms than untreated women they were still higher than control women.
  • Psychological treatments for depression in pregnancy and the postpartum have been shown to have little effect on improving the mother-infant relationship or child developmental outcomes.
  • This study gives preliminary evidence to suggest that pharmacological treatment of depression in pregnancy with antidepressants also does not improve mother-infant bonding in the postpartum.

Download the full report

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