Postnatal SSRI treatment could benefit both mother and child
Findings from a recent study published in JAMA Network Open suggest that postnatal SSRI treatment may bring benefits in the long term to not only mothers, but also their offspring.
A total of 61,000 mother and child pairs participated in the cohort study. Participating women were recruited in weeks 17 to 18 of pregnancy from 1999 to 2008 and were prospectively followed up after childbirth. Data analysis was performed between December 2021 to October 2022.
Researchers found that postnatal SSRI treatment reduced the risk of postnatal depression that related to maternal mental health, relationship satisfaction, and externalizing behaviors within the child’s early years.
According to the study, 10% to 15% of women are affected with postnatal depression, which is different from postpartum depression because it’s characterized by reoccurring depressive episodes that lead to a higher display of depression in the years after childbirth. Postpartum depression occurs immediately following childbirth. Postnatal depressive episodes not only affect a mother, but also the child, and can lead to long-term partner relationship issues as well.
SSRIs are the preferred treatment for postnatal depression compared to other antidepressants, said study authors.
They also noted that their research could provide valuable information for clinicians and women with postnatal depression to make informed treatment decisions.