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 Antidepressant use during pregnancy is tied to an increased risk of psychiatric illnesses, especially mood disorders, in children, according to a new study.

The overall risk is low, though. Only about 3 percent of the nearly 905,383 children in the study were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder by age 16.

But compared to the children of women who took antidepressants before pregnancy but not during, kids whose mothers continued taking the medications in pregnancy were 27 percent more likely to be diagnosed with mood, anxiety, behavioral or autism spectrum disorders.

Lead author Xiaoqin Liu, an epidemiologist at the National Center for Register-based Research at Aarhus University in Denmark, said the study is the first to look at a wide range of psychiatric disorders, instead of a single psychiatric illness, among children exposed to antidepressants in utero.

The results are in line with some past research, but conflict with other


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