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LaLaLa1 June 29th, 2009 11:59 PM

Sertraline (zoloft) and pregnancy
Hi, this is my first time dropping in here and I figured this would be a good place to ask. My question is regarding zoloft. I'm on 75mg of Sertraline daily and trying to get pregnant. I was pregnant last year and our baby girl was stillborn at 23w2d in August 2008. My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant since Nov. 2008 and it's been a lot more difficult than anticipated.

I have been quite depressed since losing our sweet Katrina last August, and to make it worse I haven't dealt very well with all the BFNs - to say the least. I finally went to see a psychiatrist and she prescribed zoloft. Of course she said it was perfectly safe to take and I also spoke to a Geneticist and my family Dr. about it and they both agreed that it is perfectly fine to take it, but the Geneticist recommended once I find out I'm pregnant I should slowly get off the meds.

I know it has been working because I am a bit more calm, but I still have so many worries that something will happen if I'm on this medication while I'm pregnant. I have a friend who works in a pharmacy and she asked a pharmacist there about it and then she told me I have to get off it right away - which freaked the hell out of me. I really wanted to get off of it, but my family Dr. recommended I stay on it. I want to believe that all 3 of the Dr's I spoke to know what they're talking about, but deep down I just can't stop worrying about it.

I know it's a class C drug and from some things I've read it sounds as if they haven't done too much research on it and it seems as if there are some risks about being on it while pregnant.

I really don't need to worry any more than I already do and would just like to get some of your opinions on what you all know about sertraline (zoloft) and pregnancy.

Thanks for listening and for all your help!

Alchemist June 30th, 2009 05:57 AM

Re: Sertraline (zoloft) and pregnancy
Hi hon,

Firstly I am very sorry about your loss. You mentioned a genetisist. Was there any specific genetic issues with the loss of your baby?

Well, this is the right board for your question. Your pharmasist is a pharmasist for a reason and NOT a doctor. While he/she may do some research and understand drug interactions, is he/she by no means an expert and you shuld never listen to a pharmasist over a doctor (ever with any medication btw).

I will tell you straight while there are no definitive human studies on ANY SSRI, it has been found that there are no serious risks with taking any of the newer drugs (except i think paxil). So the decision is one only you can make. I do know and understand the stress of trying to fall pg and i myself am on lexapro. I have been on for many years and have no intentions of coming off. In fact, while i understand your doc telling you to come off etc when you find out you are pg, i am not sure that is the correct move. My psychiatrist told me that the real risk of the meds is in the first month. That means by the time you find out you are pg, its too late to come off. Also, the risks of birth defects are so insignificantly slightly more, i dont think there is a risk (IMO anyways) that i need to worry about.

My one friend is perfectly healthy and they just aborted a fetus which had severe defects. It can happen to anyone, on meds or not....... i think that luckily we have scans and the best tools to help us so you shouldnt worry about it. What happened to you is tragic, but likely to be a single event and you should try not get yourself into the space of anxiety. I mean, just because you have already had an issue it doesnt up your risk (IMO) of further issues........ i am older (34) so i also have certain risks AND i am on lexapro...... all it is is statistics. Its not something you can control. More important is to relax, heal and move forward positively.....



LaLaLa1 June 30th, 2009 12:27 PM

Re: Sertraline (zoloft) and pregnancy
Thank you for responding. Katrina had severe ventriculomegaly which developed in the first trimester, so she basically had no development of her brain. We saw a Geneticist, but it was not a genetic issue. It was just something that unfortunately happened :( Both my husband and I are healthy and were not on any medications (other than my prenatals) or anything at the time she was conceived or while I was pregnant. So I unfortunately know first hand that bad things can still happen even when you're completely healthy and absolutely careful.

I know being on sertraline has helped me relax because for the past many months, my cycles have been 52 days long and the fertility specialist doesn't think I even ovulated during those cycles. Since I've started these meds, I seem to be back to my regular cycle of about 36 days or so.

rebeccabaltimore and more June 30th, 2009 12:54 PM

Re: Sertraline (zoloft) and pregnancy
I consulted the world's leading expert on mood stabilizers during pregnancy (Jennifer Payne at John's Hopkins) and she okayed me for treatment with all SSRIS and several other mood stabilizers. Recent research has indicated that there are no known birth defects associated with SSRIs. However, a recent group of studies has indicated that there is a serious risk for PTL in women whose mood disorders are left untreated. Given this information, and the information given to you by your doctors, I would stay on the drugs as long as they are needed. I can only speak for myself, but I know I would be devastated if I stopped my meds and then lost the baby because of PTL. I consulted 6 different specialists before getting pregnant with Ethan, and every single one (even the high risk perinatalogists) warned me against discontinuing my meds.

heathernoel June 30th, 2009 02:40 PM

Re: Sertraline (zoloft) and pregnancy
Lots of love Steph!! I'll tell you that I was on zoloft while pregnant with Reagan, and she's perfectly healthy :)

I would keep in touch with your drs., and see what they say. The studies are ambiguous at best at this time, however, I've known lots of women who've had healthy babies on the meds. And, as you know because y'all helped me through it, the subsequent pregnancy is stressful. You might just need something, kwim?

I would like to ask that the term "abort" be used carefully, please. Not to be rude, but I lurk here, and had to make the choice to induce my pregnancy early due to poor prenatal diagnosis...anencephaly. That word carries with it the connotation that he wasn't wanted. He was.

Several users on this board are in the same boat I am. That word could cause more harm than good.

Thanks :)

Steph...right now I'm on lexapro...lowest dose 10 mgs. I LOVED my zoloft, but was on 200 mgs before it was 'right' for me.

LaLaLa1 June 30th, 2009 03:19 PM

Re: Sertraline (zoloft) and pregnancy
Thanks Rebecca. I know you helped me previously when I first got on the meds and I totally trust you because I know you've consulted some of the best Dr's out there. It just sucks when people I know (who aren't Dr's) try to interfere and start saying just how bad it is to be on the meds. My family Dr. said his own daughter was on sertraline when she got pregnant and he didn't tell her to get off of it - so that gave me some reassurance as well. My Dr. also said that my 75mg is on the lower end, so he doesn't seem all that concerned.

Thanks Heather. That helps reassure me that you were on them while you were pregnant with Reagan and she is perfectly healthy. I needed to hear it from someone who has actually used sertraline and successfully had a healthy baby.

And I agree, I hate that word abort.

Alchemist July 1st, 2009 07:45 AM

Re: Sertraline (zoloft) and pregnancy
Hey gals,

Sorry to use the word abort. guess it is a harsh word and i havent been in your shoes (thank G-d) so i wasnt aware. What is the right terminology to use to elect to have a fetus removed with defects in that case?

rebeccabaltimore and more July 1st, 2009 10:27 AM

Re: Sertraline (zoloft) and pregnancy
Terminate is probably the word I use the most, but I have heard doctors call it an interruption. How long have you been on Lexapro? I have been on it for 2 years, at least. I tried a few other SSRIs, and I definitely like Lexapro the best. My sister took Zoloft for a long time and will be going back to it when she is ready to TTC.

Alchemist July 2nd, 2009 03:04 AM

Re: Sertraline (zoloft) and pregnancy
been on lexapro for about the same as you. I am on 5mg at the moment and am nervous to come off for fear of anxiety coming back. so far so good. been on 5mg for about 3 months now and gonna stay on till i fall pg and then see what happens. what you doing?

oh and thanks for the heads up. dont want to mess up with my friend..... :-)

rebeccabaltimore and more July 2nd, 2009 09:33 AM

Re: Sertraline (zoloft) and pregnancy
Wow, I'm on 30mg! Transitioning down to 5mg would be a dream, but we tried stopping the Lexapro during my last pregnancy, which turned out to be a bad idea. If you don't mind my asking, are you guys TTC?

LaLaLa1 July 3rd, 2009 06:55 PM

Re: Sertraline (zoloft) and pregnancy
2 questions for you:

are the dosages for lexapro and sertraline completely different? I'm at 75mg of Sertraline and my psychiatrist wants to bump it up to 100mg.

And how come it seems as if more people seem to be on lexapro than sertraline?

rebeccabaltimore and more July 3rd, 2009 10:18 PM

Re: Sertraline (zoloft) and pregnancy
Dosing is different for all of the SSRIs. 40mg is considered the max for Lexapro, but I'm pretty sure that the max for Prozac is double that. As for who is taking what, it is all dependent on individual needs. In my case, Zoloft and Paxil are the only sSRIs I have NOT taken at some point!

From my (admittedly primitive) understanding of who gets what SSRI, Lexapro is used for people whose primary complaint is depression, and Zoloft is used when anxiety is the bigger problem. In fact, because my panic attacks have been getting worse lately, when I see my shrink Tuesday I'm going to ask if Lexapro is still the right choice for me.

HailandNevansmom July 4th, 2009 01:06 PM

Re: Sertraline (zoloft) and pregnancy
Im on 50 mg a day and im bf... The dr said its one of the safest ones to use while pregnant or nursing. Talk to your dr about it... and talk to him about getting some info from the most up to date. I kno lots of ppl who were pregnant and took effexor .. which is another safer one .. and their babys are fine.

Alchemist July 6th, 2009 02:46 AM

Re: Sertraline (zoloft) and pregnancy
rebecca - yes i am TTCing. I was on 10mg and i was supersensitive to the side effects (always tired, low ability to climax etc) and it was getting to me. So i lowered my dose by half every two days until i stayed on 5mg. it was suprisingly easy this time (tried last year but have no success and went back to 10mg)....

i think i am just supersensitive to this drug (even the doctor said so as i had jitters from day 1 on the drug when i was coming on to the full dose).

Mom.to.PinknBlue July 6th, 2009 05:33 AM

Re: Sertraline (zoloft) and pregnancy
I work on the Birth Center and we have many moms come in that have been on Zoloft their whole pregnancy and they have happy and healthy babies!

LaLaLa1 July 10th, 2009 10:13 PM

Re: Sertraline (zoloft) and pregnancy

Originally Posted by ride_or_die (Post 16469191)
I work on the Birth Center and we have many moms come in that have been on Zoloft their whole pregnancy and they have happy and healthy babies!

Thank you for sharing that with me. Helps put me more at ease when I hear of people who have had healthy babies while on it.

boston_terrier_lover September 5th, 2009 10:26 AM

Re: Sertraline (zoloft) and pregnancy
hello everyone. i have a question about the sertraline (zoloft) and pregnancy. my husband and i are trying to get pregnant, hopefully i won't get my cycle and will be testing next week. i was on effexor from aug 08 to march 09. i stopped taking it 6 weeks into my pregnancy and miscarried at 9 weeks. i don't know if the med had anything to do with our loss... i have anxiety and depression and was told that zoloft was pretty safe to take during a pregnancy. my question is if it is ok to start taking once you're already pregnant instead of starting it before you get pregnant. would there be a difference? my doctor wants to start me out on 25mg a day. he said that is a really low dose, mostly because i want to get pregnant (and fingers crossed, already am!)

happymom2Logan September 6th, 2009 12:56 PM

Re: Sertraline (zoloft) and pregnancy
boston_terrier_lover- it wasn't the Effexor hon. I was concerned about Effexor with my pregnancy. I mis-carried once this past May and got preggers again right away. I was concerned about being on Effexor in the second trimester even my psychiatrist etc told me to call MotherRisk in Toronto and ask about it and I did she told me it was completely safe, and to breast feed on too so that helped.

I have anxiety & depression too...

I was on Zoloft for over 8 yrs of my life when I was younger and it did work wonders for that time though I had to change doses.

Would you be interested in the motherrisk number, it's amazing how much information t hey have that the doctors don't even know...

Amanda C September 6th, 2009 03:04 PM

Re: Sertraline (zoloft) and pregnancy
Thanks for all the info ladies. I suffer from depression and anxiety and I'm currently taking nothing and my anxiety is getting the best of me. I will ask my OB next week about trying Zoloft.

My only question is since Zoloft seems to be really safe during pregnancy. I've tried Lexapro and Zoloft before. The Lexapro caused a lot of sexual side effects and the Zoloft made me severly sleepy even though I took it at bedtime. The sleepiness never eased up even after 8 weeks so I weaned myself off it.

Can you ladies recommend anything else that is safe or a way to hep with the side effects?

tatanickel81 September 7th, 2009 07:37 PM

Re: Sertraline (zoloft) and pregnancy
I've done a lot of research on SSRI's when we were TTC. I was on Cymbalta before becoming pregnant last year, but stopped taking it as soon as I got my BFP. I ended up with a molar pregnancy and had to have a D&C at 14 weeks. I could not find any correlation between AD and molar pregnancies and even my OBGYN assured me it was nothing that I did or didn't do, it just happened. This time around I decided to stay off all AD but I just hit my third trimester and I haven't been doing well at all. I've actually become very aggressive and nasty and depressed crying with excessive worrying. I decided I couldn't take it anymore. My OB prescribed Celexa, which made me severly nauseated. I just switched to Zoloft and from everything I've read lately it seems to be the most popular drug of choice during pregnancy and breastfeeding. I'm also terrified of PPD, so together with my husband, my OBGYN, my therapist and my psychiatrist, we decided this is the best choice for me. You need to take care of yourself and your baby and you know what is best for you. When people try to tell you otherwise just smile and say thank you for the advice and change the subject. Everyone is different and no one knows exactly how you feel or what you are going through. Good luck to you and keep us posted!!! I have 11 more weeks till my DD, so I'll let you know how our baby was with the Zoloft!!!! :)

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