Lexapro and Pregnancy

The use of the antidepressant drug Lexapro has been associated with many harmful side effects. If taken during pregnancy, Lexapro can lead to several devastating birth defects.

Therefore, pregnant women need to be particularly cautious about the use of Lexapro. Some of the serious birth defects that may be caused due to exposure to this drug are discussed here.

Neonatal Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension (PPHN)

According to a health advisory notification issued by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006, the use of SSRI drugs such as Lexapro by pregnant mothers can lead to Neonatal Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension (PPHN) in newborn babies. It's a very serious disorder in which the child is unable to adapt to breathing outside the womb and may have to be put onto a ventilator for intensive care. In severe cases of PPHN, death is also likely to occur.

Premature Births

According to the researchers of a study published in the October 2012 issue of Human Reproduction, the use of drugs like Lexapro can lead to worsened pregnancy outcomes. The findings of the study showed that exposure to these drugs after the first trimester of pregnancy can result in Lexapro pregnancy-induced hypertension as well as increased chances of miscarriage. Premature births were another serious problem resulting from the use of SSRIs. Researchers of the study also maintained that it is among one of the most pressing concerns since babies born before 37 weeks are at a greater risk of experiencing many short-term and long-term health-related problems.

Newborn Behavioral Syndrome

The same study found that babies born to mothers, who took a drug like Lexapro while pregnant, were more likely to suffer from Newborn Behavioral Syndrome. Symptoms of this serious condition include constant crying, feeding difficulties, and jitteriness. In some cases, seizures and breathing problems can also occur.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

The use of SSRIs during the first trimester of pregnancy has also been linked with the occurrence of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The study reported a doubling of risk for babies who are exposed to drugs such as Lexapro in the womb. Children who suffer from autism are unable to develop normal personal interactions that are an extremely essential part of human development. They may also have to struggle with this condition for years after they are born.


Women who are prescribed an SSRI drug during pregnancy are at a higher risk of giving birth to babies with Omphalocele. This a serious defect of the abdominal wall in which the liver, intestines, or other organs stick outside of the baby's body through the belly button. Omphalocele can cause many other problems for the baby such as abdominal cavity, infections and organ damage.

Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate

The Cleft Lip and Palate Foundation reports that one of the most common birth defects resulting from the use of SSRI drugs such as Lexapro are cleft lip and cleft palate. These are severe facial malformations caused due to gaps that develop while the facial structures of the babies are under the process of forming.

Lexapro Birth Defects and Legal Help

If you took Lexapro and your child was born with a birth defect, you may be eligible to file a Lexapro lawsuit against the manufacturer of the drug as well as the physician who prescribed it. It is recommended that you see an attorney who deals in Lexapro birth defects. After evaluating your case, the attorney will assist you in claiming compensation for the treatment expenses and the pain and suffering that you've had to go though.

To request for more information related to your case, please fill out the form given on this page.

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Q:Is lexapro safe during pregnancy?

A:Lexapro is not a safe drug for pregnant women. It can result in a number of side effects for the mother, as well as the baby. Unborn babies can have the likelihood of developing serious and life threatening birth defects. Birth defects may include heart diseases, autism, and organ defects. The drug may also result in premature births.

Q:What are the side effects of taking Lexapro during pregnancy?

A:Pregnant women who are using Lexapro need to be aware of its serious side effects. The side effects can be on the mother as well as the unborn baby. However, some devastating effects can take place on the baby's health such as premature birth, heart and organ defects, autism, cleft lip, and cleft palate.

Q:I recently got to know about lexapro pregnancy risk. Should I stop taking the drug?

A:Lexapro can have various side effects on the health of mother and the baby. Some serious birth defects are also associated with the drug. However, it is not advisable that you stop the intake of Lexapro abruptly, as it can result in withdrawal side effects. You will need to consult your doctor before you stop using the drug.

Q:Can you tell me about Lexapro pregnancy safety?

A:Doctors have not given Lexapro a clean bill of health for pregnant women. The drug has been associated with various side effects in the mother as well as the baby. A number of birth defects are also associated with the drug such as heart and organ defects, premature births, and autism.