A new study is raising concerns about expectant mothers who are taking anti-depressants and the possible effects on their baby. But doctors warn there are many factors to consider.
The data suggests the risk of autism nearly doubles for children whose mothers take anti-depressants during pregnancy.
The findings show the risk shot up 87 percent in pre-school children whose mothers took drugs such as Prozac or Zoloft in the second or third trimester.
However, doctors warn untreated depression poses its own risks for mother and baby and that the overall autism risk remains very low, between one to two percent. That means the chance a women does not have a child with autism is about 97 to 98 percent.
Despite the findings, a clinical psychologist who looked at the study said he will continue to prescribe anti-depressants to pregnant women who need them.
"Over the years I’ve worked with many obstetricians and we have to decide for each person what the risk/benefit ratio is," said Dr. Alan Manevitz, Clinical Psychiatrist.
Doctors emphasize the most important thing is to keep taking prescribed medications and consult your physician. Also, they said talk-therapy and other non-drug options may be an alternative for certain patients.