There may be risks associated with taking antidepressants during pregnancy.
New research out of McMaster University found a correlation between the use of the medication fluoxetine during pregnancy and an increased risk of obesity and diabetes in children.
Senior investigator Alison Holloway, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at McMaster University, says the goal was to determine whether exposure to common antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which can increase risk of obesity in adults) was related to the development of fatty liver in children.
Testing on an animal model resulted in increased fat accumulation and inflammation in the liver of adult offspring.
Holloway says findings may help identify high-risk children who may require intervention to prevent obesity and Type 2 diabetes later in life.
While she says the study doesn't mean women should avoid antidepressants during pregnancy, further research will try to understand why those drugs cause such risks.
"If we can understand how the antidepressant causes adverse metabolic outcomes in the offspring then we can design therapeutic strategies to prevent the damage while allowing women who require these drugs to be treated but reduce the potential harm to the offspring."
Currently 7 per cent of Canadian women are prescribed an antidepressant during pregnancy.
Studies have found pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to depression, with up to one in five showing symptoms during pregnancy.