Zoloft® Withdrawal Symptoms in Newborns
When a pregnant mother takes Zoloft® (sertraline) and her baby is born, the infant essentially goes through withdrawal because it is no longer receiving the drug from its mother. The main symptoms the newborn can have may include:
- High-pitched crying
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Lackluster feeding
- Throwing up
Zoloft and Birth Defects
Zoloft® (sertraline) is in a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Serotonin is a substance produced in the body and one of its functions is to stabilize mood. The medication is labeled a pregnancy Category C drug meaning it has been shown in animal studies to cause certain birth defects, but no human studies exist to prove it affects us in the same way.
Some of the birth defects associated with Zoloft® include:
- Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN): This is a lung condition in which the baby's lungs fail to assume their proper function. The way blood is oxygenated in the fetus differs from the way it is oxygenated in the baby. Once born, the lungs are supposed to take over the function of breathing, whereas during its fetal period, the blood is oxygenated by blood from the placenta.
- Septal Heart Defects: These are holes in the septum between the two atria, or upper chambers of the heart. As a result, the circulation doesn't flow in its proper manner and fails to correctly deliver oxygen to the rest of the infant's body. This defect is corrected surgically.
- Omphalocele: Babies with this condition are born with the intestines and sometimes other abdominal organs protruding through the bellybutton. They are covered by a thin tissue membrane. This condition is corrected surgically over a period of time.
Zoloft® is a treatment for depression. While the possibility of its causing birth defects exists, a pregnant mother taking the drug needs to discuss with her physician whether to discontinue taking it. Sometimes, the risks associated with stopping the drug outweigh the possibility that the medication will cause birth defects in the newborn.
In addition, if the mother stops taking Zoloft® and depression recurs, this condition also can have an effect on her pregnancy. Depressed mothers have been shown to be at higher risk for:
- Failing to get good prenatal care
- Preeclampsia (dangerously high blood pressure that sometimes occurs during pregnancy)
- Poor weight gain (necessary for proper development of the fetus)
- Trying to self-medicate by using drugs or alcohol
Contact a Zoloft® Birth Defect Lawyer
If your baby is suffering as a result of you taking Zoloft® (sertraline) during your pregnancy, contact our Zoloft® birth defect lawyers for help. You may be eligible to seek compensation if you have a legitimate claim. Learn more by contacting our lawyers for a free review of your case today.