Natural alternatives to Zoloft could reduce the effects of depression during pregnancy while limiting birth defect risks. Doctors are increasingly recommending treatments such as “talk therapy,” cognitive behavioral therapy and exercise to manage depression instead of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Zoloft.
Talk therapy can involve one-on-one sessions with a therapist or group sessions with other family members instead of using drugs for depression. Several recent studies have linked Zoloft and other antidepressants to an increased risk of birth defects among babies born to women who use the drugs during pregnancy.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned that using Zoloft during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, could lead to the fetus developing congenital birth defects. Zoloft birth defects include persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), anencephaly (parts of the brain and skull missing), omphalocele (organs protruding from the bellybutton) and heart defects.