Birth Defects from the use of SSRIs

Recent studies on the side effects of SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) suggest the use of these medications may include serious SSRI birth related defects, which cause health problems for infants and young children.

SSRI birth defects often require multiple surgeries and other special medical care, which places a heavy emotional and financial burden on the family. A birth injury lawyer can help you file a claim of which you may be entitled to compensation to help with medical expenses and other damages related to the SSRI birth defect.

SSRIs are the most frequently prescribed category of antidepressant medication. SSRIs include:

  • Paxil (paroxetine)
  • Zoloft (sertraline)
  • Celexa (citalopram)
  • Prozac (fluoxetine)
  • Lexapro (escitalopram)
  • Luvox (fluoxetine)

SSRI medications work by increasing the chemical serotonin in the brain, which is an essential chemical. These medications have a superb reputation for both safety and effectiveness, which is why they are the most frequently prescribed. However, studies done and a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine linked the use of SSRIs while pregnant to serious birth defects, which include:

  • Spina bifida
  • Cleft palate
  • PPHN, Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, which is a serious condition in which the baby is not able to adapt to breathing outside the womb.


  • Septal defect (atrial and ventricular): This occurs when a hole has developed in the wall of the baby’s heart, which leads to improper blood circulation causing the heart to work harder than it has to, to pump blood. This birth defect may require open heart surgery.
  • Hypoplastic right heart: This is when the right side of the baby’s heart does not fully develop, resulting in sudden death or requiring a heart transplant or multiple surgeries as they age.
  • Hypoplastic left heart: This is when the left side of the baby’s heart does not fully develop, resulting in sudden death or requiring a heart transplant or multiple surgeries as they age.



  • Spina bifida: This occurs when the infants spinal cord and backbone do not close or properly develop. If this happens, the baby’s spinal cord may protrude though the opening. This affected section of the spinal cord does not function as it should, which can lead to a disability.
  • Cleft palate: A cleft palate is when the separate part of the baby’s skull forming the roof of the mouth do not join together properly. A cleft palate can result in problems with breathing, feeding, and speaking.
  • Clubbed feet: Clubbed feet occur when the baby’s bones, joints, blood vessels, and muscles develop abnormally which results in the foot/feet turning inward and/or downward, which causes problems with mobility.

If you or someone you know took Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Prozac, Lexapro, or Luvox antidepressant medication while pregnant and your baby has suffered any type of SSRI birth defect you may qualify for damages that could be awarded in a SSRI birth defect lawsuit. A qualified birth injury lawyer will go over your case with you and help you to recover any compensation or medical costs you are entitled to.