RaMaVa is a research project that studied the effects of maternal antidepressive medication on the development of newborn brain function.
Duration: 2011 – 2016
Depression and anxiety are commonly treated with SRI drugs. They are not seen to cause major malformations. The study involved 22 mothers using SRI medication during pregnancy and 62 controls without medication. The study examined the effects of SRI exposure directly on the newborn brain activity, which allowed assessment of fetal effects independent of postnatal environmental effects.
The study found that only minor differences can be seen in the behavioral or neurological assessments of the newborns; however, brain electrical activity exhibited several slight differences between the study groups, including changes in communication between brain hemispheres, as well as in synchronization between cortical rhythms.
The study did not examine longer term effects. The results support current guidelines of the treatment of depression during pregnancy: Pregnant mothers need treatment when they present with symptoms of depression or anxiety. Non-pharmacological therapies are the first-line treatment though pharmacological treatment may be needed with major depression. If the mother is using an SRI when planning pregnancy, it would be advisable to consider a close follow-up or a therapeutic intervention without SRI medication.
Newborn Brain Function Is Affected by Fetal Exposure to Maternal Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. Mari Videman; Anton Tokariev; Heini Saikkonen; Susanna Stjerna; Hannu Heiskala; Outi Mantere; Sampsa Vanhatalo. Cerebral Cortex 2016; doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhw153 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27269962