If you're considering starting a family and are currently on Prozac, you've probably wondered if you should continuing taking the antidepressant. Your first inclination is most likely to ask your OB-GYN, "When should I go off Prozac during my pregnancy?" However, what you may be surprised to learn is that your doctor may tell you that you can, in fact, continue to take certain antidepressants throughout your pregnancy. Prozac happens to be one of medications that some doctors allow their pregnant patients to continue to use. Considering that pregnancy books and websites often recommend that moms-to-be avoid everything from caffeine to fish, it may be hard to believe that it can be possible to keep taking your prescription meds.
Fit Pregnancy reported that between 14 and 23 percent of pregnant women experience symptoms of depression. If left untreated, these women may turn to other, more dangerous methods to cope with their symptoms, such as drinking, smoking, or drug use. This can lead to increased health risks for your baby including, but not limited to, premature birth or fetal alcohol syndrome. Your doctor has the responsibility of balancing the risks of Prozac use with the danger of taking you off of your medication, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Although certain selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) including citalopram (Celexa), sertraline (Zoloft), and fluoxetine (Prozac) are often prescribed to pregnant women, Mayo Clinic pointed out that some research associates the use of these medications during the last half of pregnancy with a condition known as persistent pulmonary hypertension, a rare but serious newborn lung problem. This sounds frightening, but WebMD suggested that the risk of these kinds of problems to the newborn are generally low. It’s also equally important to consider your own health and the well-being of your family, including your other children when deciding whether or not you should stop taking your medication. Your doctor may find that it's less risky to keep you on Prozac than to take you off.
If you haven't yet conceived, you should use this time to talk to your doctor about adjusting your Prozac dosage or making any recommended medication changes before becoming pregnant. If your doctor decides to take you off of your antidepressants altogether, WebMD recommends regular visits with a therapist, getting more exercise, spending more time outside, practicing yoga or meditation, and minimizing your stress as a way to prevent or combat depression symptoms.
As always, remember to seek professional advice before making any medical decisions that can affect your health or the health of your unborn baby.