Antidepressant use in pregnancy "linked to autism"

Mothers "twice as likely" to have taken antidepressants

By Ian Birch

A US study claims that mothers of children with autism are twice as likely as mothers of other children to have been prescribed antidepressants during pregnancy.

Mum kissing babyThe risk was found to be threefold if taken during the first trimester of pregnancy.

"It has been well-established that genetic factors contribute to risk for autism," Clara Lajonchere, a study co-author said in a statement.

"We now have strong evidence that, on top of genetic heritability, [environmental factors] may have a greater than previously realized role in the development of autism."


Autism is a lifelong developmental disability which affects how someone relates to, and communicates with, other people, and how they make sense of the world around them.

Some people with autism lead quite independent lives but others have profound learning disabilities and need a lifetime of personal support in the community.   As a result, the condition is often described as an "autistic spectrum disorder".

The news reopens the debate in the UK over the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.

You can read the full text of the study online at

External Links

The National Autistic Society - What is autism?

Facts and statistics about autism

BBC Health - autism and asperger's syndrome

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