Sertraline (Zoloft) may not be recommended during the third trimester of pregnancy. It is therefore important for patients to talk to their medical providers about sertraline and pregnancy.
Taking sertraline early in pregnancy does not appear to increase the newborn’s risk for birth defects, according to the FDA. Use of sertraline in the third trimester of pregnancy, however, can increase the newborn’s risk of long-term high blood pressure in the arteries that carry blood between the lungs and the heart, a condition known as persistent pulmonary hypertension. Sertraline use in the third trimester can also cause withdrawal symptoms in the newborn.
Sertraline and Breastfeeding
Low levels of sertraline may be present in infants who breastfeed, which means sertraline can cross between a parent and a breastfed child. According to research data presented by the FDA, exclusively human milk-fed infants had an average of 2 percent of the sertraline serum levels measured in their mothers; the researchers in the study did not observe any adverse effects of sertraline in these infants.
What antidepressants are safe for pregnancy?
Certain antidepressants are considered safe during pregnancy, including:
- Certain selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as sertraline (Zoloft)
- Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), such as duloxetine (Cymbalta)
- Bupropion (Wellbutrin)
- Tricyclic antidepressants, such as nortriptyline (Pamelor) and desipramine (Norpramin)
Can someone take sertraline in early pregnancy?
Yes – taking sertraline in early pregnancy does not seem to cause adverse effects.
What pregnancy category is sertraline?
The FDA once labeled sertraline as Pregnancy Category C, which means that “[a]nimal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus, or there are no animal reproduction studies and no well-controlled studies in humans.” The FDA is currently replacing Pregnancy Categories with the “Pregnancy and Lactation Labeling Rule” (PLLR) with narrative sections and subsections to include details on the risk a drug may present during pregnancy, lactation, and on female and male reproductive potential.
Can sertraline cause a miscarriage?
The risk of miscarriage due to the use of sertraline is unknown.
How can I calm my anxiety while pregnant?
Methods to calm anxiety during pregnancy include:
- Taking an antidepressant, such as sertraline, as recommended by a licensed medical provider
- Getting more sleep; the Anxiety and Depression Association of America says anxiety can cause sleeping problems and sleeping problems can cause anxiety
- Eating whole, fresh foods
- Staying active
- Learning about pregnancy
- Building a support system
- Scheduling daily relaxation or meditation time