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 Zoloft 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.
Zoloft and Breastfeeding
Low levels of Zoloft may be present in infants who breastfeed, which means Zoloft can cross between a parent and a breastfed child. The FDA states that researchers have not found any adverse effects of low levels of Zoloft in breast milk.
Will taking Zoloft hurt my baby?
Taking Zoloft early in pregnancy does not appear to increase the newborn’s risk for birth defects, according to the FDA. However, using sertraline in the third trimester of pregnancy can increase the newborn’s risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension, a condition that causes long-term high blood pressure in the arteries, which carry blood between the lungs and the heart. Using Zoloft in the third trimester can also cause withdrawal symptoms in the newborn.
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)
What category is Zoloft in pregnancy?
The FDA once labeled Zoloft as Pregnancy Category C, which indicates 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), which features narrative sections that describe the risk a drug may present during pregnancy, lactation, and on female and male reproductive potential.
Can Zoloft cause a miscarriage?
The risk of miscarriage due to the use of Zoloft 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
Is Zoloft 50 mg safe during pregnancy?
Zoloft 50 mg is typically safe during pregnancy.
Does Zoloft cross the placenta?
Yes, Zoloft does cross from the pregnant parent through the placenta to the fetus. In fact, research shows 29 to 73 percent of sertraline and 29 to 63 percent of its metabolites reach the baby.