“Live, healthy babies are the most common outcome following the use of antipsychotic medication in pregnancy,” conclude Australian researchers in a study that was funded by pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca, Janssen-Cilag, Hospira and Eli-Lilly and published in PLOS One. The researchers clarify, though, that these babies were not nearly as healthy as most babies. Studying records of 147 pregnancies from the new Australian National Register of Antipsychotic Medication in Pregnancy, they found that “18% of babies were born preterm, with a higher dose of antipsychotic medication correlating to an increased likelihood of premature delivery.” In addition, 43% of the babies required special nursery or intensive care, 37% suffered respiratory distress, and 6% had birth defects.
“The use of mood stabilisers or higher doses of antipsychotics during pregnancy increased the likelihood of babies experiencing respiratory distress or admission to Special Care Nursery or Neonatal Intensive Care Units,” the researchers state. “There is a great need for safety and efficacy information about the use of antipsychotic medications in pregnancy.” However, the researchers added immediately thereafter in their conclusion once again that, “Live, healthy babies are the most common outcome following the use of antipsychotic medication in pregnancy[.]”