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Asnat Walfisch


Depression, teratogenicity, risk, antidepressant therapy, exposure, pregnancy, screening


Exposure to various medications and medical conditions during pregnancy is often inevitable. Most of these exposures do not carry an elevated risk of congenital malformations. Nevertheless, misperceptions of the risks associated with different exposures in pregnancy are common and may potentially lead to wrong decisions. Unrealistically high maternal teratogenic risk perception may lead to abrupt discontinuation of therapy during pregnancy and even to termination of an otherwise wanted pregnancy.

Maternal perceptions and decisions regarding pregnancy are influenced by many factors including the emotional well-being. Maternal depressive symptomatology appears to have a significant effect on the perception of teratogenic risk and may further limit the validity of a decision-making process. Both screening and addressing maternal depression, as well as appropriate exposure related counseling by a teratology service, may help in reducing unnecessary fear of teratogenicity and possibly even the likelihood of pregnancy termination.

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