Study: Fathers’ antidepressant use not harmful to babies

Fathers’ use of antidepressants does not appear to increase health risks for babies, according to a new study.

Although the scientific community has not been overly concerned about the impact of paternal antidepressant use on babies’ health, Sonia Hernández-Díaz, professor of epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a June 19, 2018 Reuters article that the new study is important. Previous studies had implied connections between mothers’ use of antidepressants and neurodevelopmental or mood disorders in children, which led to “suffering and guilt in women,” said Hernández-Díaz, who was not involved in the new study. But more recent studies found that mothers’ use of these medications likely do not increase babies’ risks.

“We have learnt from what we have done to moms that we need to be extra careful and thoughtful before screaming ‘wolf,’” she said. “In this case, a negative study is important to publish and communicate because had it been ‘positive’ (i.e., found an increased risk) it would have been on the cover of magazines.”

Read the Reuters article: Fathers’ antidepressant use doesn’t worsen babies’ health risks