A meta-analysis of 23 antidepressant studies showed that women who use antidepressants in a class known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) put their children at risk of negative birth outcomes. SSRI antidepressants include some of the most-prescribed drugs, including Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro and Celexa.
The analysis showed that prenatal exposure to drugs like Zoloft was significantly associated with preterm delivery, shorter gestational age and lower Apgar scores, which measure the initial health of a child after birth. Children born to mothers on antidepressants were also more likely to have lower birth weights compared to those not using an SSRI antidepressant.
Zoloft has also been linked to several severe birth defects among children of women who take the drug during pregnancy. Zoloft birth defects include persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), organ defects, brain defects and congenital heart defects.