Q: Are antidepressants especially risky during the third trimester?
A: Studies suggest that 10 to 30 percent of babies who are exposed to antidepressant medications during pregnancy will have withdrawal symptoms after they are born. (This is known as "neonatal abstinence syndrome.") Symptoms include respiratory distress, muscle stiffness, difficulty feeding, crying in a high-pitched tone, being harder to console, and having stomach upset. These symptoms are typically present in the first 48 hours after birth, and "generally resolve in a few days or within a couple of weeks" without treatment, says Healy Smith, M.D., a reproductive psychiatrist at the Women's Mental Health Clinic at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.