Can I Take an SSRI While Trying to Conceive?

What are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and can I take them while I’m trying to get pregnant?
profile picture of Laurence A. Jacobs, MD, reproductive endocrinologist, Fertility Centers of Illinois
ByLaurence A. Jacobs, MD, reproductive endocrinologist, Fertility Centers of Illinois
Fertility Specialist
Feb 2017
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Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, or SSRIs, are a class of drugs that make up a large percentage of antidepressants. You probably know them better by their brand names, like Prozac and Paxil. They work by blocking the reabsorption of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, which in turn helps boost your mood. The majority of SSRIs are considered relatively safe during pregnancy. That said, it’s safest for your baby for you to go off the medication or minimize its use before getting pregnant. However, given the complex hormonal soup and the accompanying flood of emotions that pregnancy can bring — including depression — that’s not always the most practical or ideal scenario. You’ll have to talk with your own doctor about what’s right for you. Keep in mind that certain types of SSRIs are considered less safe than others. Paxil, for example, has been associated with an increased risk of heart defects among newborns when taken in the first three months of pregnancy.

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