When a woman becomes pregnant, her hormones fluctuate in ways that could cause her to experience depression while carrying her child, and postpartum depression after she gives birth. Many women believed it was safe to take an antidepressant like Zoloft to combat those feelings of depression during pregnancy, but they later learned that antidepressants in the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class are believed to cause serious birth defects in their children. Some women who took the drug during their pregnancies are filing lawsuits against Pfizer, the manufacturer of the drug, because of the alleged birth defects caused by Zoloft.
A new study conducted by Dr. Ruth Feldman of Bar-Ilan University in Israel contends that children born to depressed mothers are 60 percent more likely to have issues of their own by the age of 6.
Low Levels of Oxytocin Responsible
Children born to mothers who experienced depression during pregnancy or postpartum depression tend to have lower levels of oxytocin, the hormone associated with love, social bonding, and parent-infant bonding. Those with higher levels of oxytocin were less likely to develop anxiety or conduct disorders early on in life. Dr. Feldman reported her findings at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) annual meeting in Hawaii.
15 to 18 Percent of Women Experience Postpartum Depression
Typically, 15 to 18 percent of women will experience postpartum depression. Dr. Feldman and her researchers followed 155 mother-infant pairs for six years and determined that 30 percent of the mothers were “consistently depressed” during the early part of their child’s life. The mothers themselves had more dysfunctional oxytocin systems when compared to other women who either exhibited more mild forms of depression or none at all. The lack of normal oxytocin levels in both mother and child seemed to influence the development of psychiatric disorders in the children.
According to Dr. Feldman, early intervention in the form of better maternal caregiving, supplemented by additional oxytocin given to the mother, could trigger better functioning that the mother in turn will pass along to her child.
Women should discuss their emotional as well as their physical well-being with their physicians at every stage of pregnancy to ensure the health of their unborn children. Those discussions should include whether or not treating depression with medication would be prudent given evidence of possible severe birth defects in children born to mothers who took Zoloft or another antidepressant belonging to the SSRI drug class. It is important to weigh the risks and benefits to both mother and child.
Protect Your Child and Your Rights as a Consumer
If you were prescribed Zoloft while pregnant, took the medication as directed, and gave birth to a child with birth defects you feel resulted from taking an antidepressant, you have rights as a consumer. The Rottenstein Law Group’s Zoloft lawyers have over 25 years of collective experience advocating for individuals in consumer product injury and mass tort cases. They can help you seek compensation for pain and suffering and unforeseen medical costs. If you feel you have a zoloft birth defects lawsuit the attorneys at the Rottenstein Law Group offer free consultations and all you have to do is fill out this brief contact form or call us at 1 (877) 471-8940.
If you are considering filing a Zoloft birth defects lawsuit, download this free Zoloft brochure.