Explains what antidepressants are, how they work, possible side effects and information about withdrawal.
This page covers:
"I developed severe postnatal depression and OCD just three days after the birth of my daughter. I was non-functioning, I couldn't even leave the house and was suicidal... [My antidepressant] really helped, and gave me the crutch I needed to function again. I really feel like it saved my life."
There are some risks to taking antidepressants during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. These include the following:
There may also be benefits to taking antidepressants during this time:
Your doctor can help you balance the possible risks to your baby against the benefits of taking your medication. This is to help you come to your own decision about what's best for you. But it is understandable if you feel unsure about this. You might find it helpful to seek further support during this time.
"When I got pregnant I was terrified of not being able to look after a child in the mental state I was in. So I tried [antidepressants]. I couldn't function anywhere near as well till I had them."
Being pregnant can sometimes feel like you’re giving up control of your own body. This can be stressful, but there are lots of positive steps you can take:
Coming to a decision you feel comfortable with about what's right for you and your baby can be difficult. You might find it helpful to explore these options for extra support:
You might also find it helpful to read our pages on parenting with a mental health problem. These pages include information on taking care of yourself, looking after your children, and other kinds of support available to parents. Our information on perinatal mental health problems may also help.
This information was published in September 2020. We will revise it in 2023.
Need more support with this issue? Our helplines are here for you.
Need the references and evidence sheet for this page? Contact our publishing team.
Want to reproduce content from this page? See our page on permissions and licensing.