According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 13 percent of pregnant women and new mothers may experience depression. Antidepressant medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are an effective treatment for depression. However, their use during late pregnancy has raised concerns, due to questions about the health impact on newborns.
A 2006 study suggested that the use of antidepressants in late pregnancy (after 20 weeks) may increase the risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). PPHN is a condition that typically occurs in term or near-term infants and presents within hours of birth. It can lead to severe respiratory failure requiring intubation and mechanical ventilation.