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Anti-depressants during pregnancy may lead to childhood obesity, diabetes: Study

Written by: QMI AGENCY
Jun. 21, 2014

File photo of a pregnant woman. (QMI Agency)


Women who take anti-depressants during pregnancy may be unknowingly predisposing their infants to Type 2 diabetes and obesity later in life, according to a study from Hamilton's McMaster University.

The study found a correlation between the use of the medication Fluoxetine during pregnancy and an increased risk of obesity and diabetes in children.

The research team says up to 20% of women in the U.S. and approximately seven per cent of Canadian women are prescribed an anti-depressant while pregnant.

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"Obesity and Type 2 diabetes in children is on the rise and there is the argument that it is related to lifestyle and availability of high calorie foods and reduced physical activity, but our study has found that maternal anti-depressant use may also be a contributing factor to the obesity and diabetes epidemic," Alison Holloway, the study's senior investigator and an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at McMaster University, said.

The study does not suggest women should avoid taking anti-depressants during pregnancy, only that there may be risks associated with them that haven't been previously identified, Holloway says.

"The benefit of the study is it may help in the identification of a high-risk group of children who may require specific interventions to prevent obesity and Type 2 diabetes later in life," she said.

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