A Lesson in Manipulation, or SSRI Use In Pregnancy: The Headlines

When a new study about drugs and pregnancy comes out, it gets a lot of media coverage. Such an event occurred this week, when a brand new study about SSRI use in pregnancy released its results. So, take a look at the following headlines. Which headline tells us the conclusion the latest study’s actually came to? Is it…

A) Study describes pros, cons of antidepressant use in pregnancy

B) The Pros and Cons of Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy

C) Antidepressant Use in Pregnancy Linked to Smaller Heads in Infants

D) Study weighs antidepressant use during pregnancy

E) Antidepressants During Pregnancy: What Are the Risks?

F) Antidepressants in pregnancy affect baby’s head size

That’s right, none of them. Not a one.

C & F get kind of close.

Do you want to know what they found? Women who suffer from depression are more likely than women who are not depressed to have babies with smaller heads, among other issues (low fetal growth and low birthweight included among those issues). Women who take SSRIs during their pregnancies are more likely to have babies with smaller heads than women who take no prescription medication during pregnancy. And here’s my favorite pare: we have no idea whether or not fetal head size matters. So, what did we learn? There may or may not be a correlation between depression/SSRIs and smaller fetal head size. That’s it. There’s nothing else. Does it matter at all? We do. Not. Know.

Go to H E Double Hockey Sticks, you manipulative jerks who write headlines.

UPDATE: Fox news chimed in with this beauty– “Mixed picture for mom, baby with antidepressants” Does that even mean anything?

8 Comments

  1. I took Prozac while pregnant.  Thing 1’s head circumference is in the 96th percentile.

    That is all I have to add.  ;-)

    March 6, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      My buddy Huxley’s head circumference is in the 101st percentile. (Which is, you know, un-possible, given the nature of percentiles.) Mom didn’t take antidepressants, but he’s how I know that doctors have no idea whether head circumference makes any difference. They keep going “Ummm, what does that mean?” And the doctors shrug. 101st percentile makes me laugh every time, though!

      March 7, 2012
      Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      My buddy Huxley’s head is “in the 101st percentile.” How hilarious is that? His parents laugh all the time because it is a) not possible and b) none of the doctors have ever been able to answer them when they ask “What does that mean?”

      March 7, 2012
      Reply
      • Ha! That’s funny.  We, fortunately, know what Thing 1’s big head means…  or why it is that way.  My husband’s head is also huge.  I’ve just pointed that out to doctors every time some has said anything about  CT scan.  Kid is fine, if maybe a bit tired from carrying that thing around.  He’ll grow into it.  

        March 8, 2012
        Reply
  2. Your blog is tremendous. I had lots of breast milk pumped that was going to go to waste, but couldn’t give it to anyone because I take an anti-depressant. Mothers who needed milk for their litte ones were informed that my milk was “too tainted.” The misinformation is just criminal.  I am so glad you are out there. Keep writing.
    Christie (http://outlawmama.com)

    March 7, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I’m so glad you found me! Lots of women are now breastfeeding while taking an anti-depressant. I won’t, because I also take an anti-anxiety medication that is actually dangerous. But I’m glad that you got my point–misinformation abounds! 

      March 7, 2012
      Reply
  3. Jeannette Day said:

    Wow, really? Both of my kids had GIANT heads. In fact, my son’s head has NEVER been on the charts at all.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply

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