Prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and risk of childhood overweight

L. E. Grzeskowiak, A. L. Gilbert, J. L. Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)


The objective was to investigate the association between prenatal selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) exposure and overweight in offspring at 4-5 years of age. We conducted a retrospective cohort study using linked records from the Women's and Children's Health Network in South Australia, Australia. Women were eligible to participate if they gave birth to singleton, live-born infants between September 2000 and December 2005. Women were excluded if they received a dispensing for an antidepressant other than SSRIs or an antipsychotic or an anti-epileptic or had a chronic medical condition. Of the 6560 eligible women, 71 received a dispensing for an SSRI (exposed), 204 had a reported psychiatric illness but did not receive a dispensing for any antidepressant (untreated psychiatric illness) and 6285 did not have a reported psychiatric illness and did not receive a dispensing for any antidepressant (unexposed). Childhood overweight was classified as a body mass index >85th percentile, based on age and sex. At 4-5 years of age, female offspring of exposed mothers were less likely to be overweight compared with female offspring of mothers with an untreated psychiatric illness [adjusted Prevalence Ratio (aPR) 0.23; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.05-0.98] and female offspring of unexposed mothers (aPR 0.27; 0.07-0.99). No association with overweight was observed among male offspring of exposed mothers compared with male offspring of mothers with an untreated psychiatric illness (aPR 1.17; 0.54-2.51) and male offspring of unexposed mothers (aPR 0.93; 0.52-1.67). Further research is required to confirm these findings and examine the potential mechanisms behind the sex-specific differences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-261
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Children
  • Overweight
  • Pregnancy
  • Psychiatric illness
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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