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Worrying myself sick...Citalopram in early pregnancy

(12 Posts)
Narabug764 Tue 12-Jul-16 08:47:41

I have just found out I'm pregnant - currently 4 weeks and 2 days. I have been on citalopram 20mg for a year or so. Im waiting for my GP appointment on Thursday to register pregnancy etc, but in the meantime have been googling and it's fair to say i'm worrying myself silly about the risk of neural tube defects etc that have been found in some studies. I feel scared that I have already damaged the baby by having this drug in my system in the first tri. I know all the major embryonic development is just about to start - heart, neural tube etc. I'm very scared and just looking for some advice/reassurance please. If I could see the GP sooner I would but that was the earliest appointment they had.

CraftyPenguin Tue 12-Jul-16 08:50:30

I was taking 10mg and stopped as soon as I found out at 4 weeks and my baby is fine. Are you taking folic acid? If not it would be worth taking it, as the nureal tube closes around 6 weeks so it would still be worth getting some folic acid into you (although you may be getting enough in your diet anyway).

Narabug764 Tue 12-Jul-16 08:53:11

Hi yes I've been taking folic acid for ages in my vits and have now switched to pregnancy vits. Thanks for your response. Did your GP suggest you come off of the citalopram immediately or was that your choice?
Thanks

CraftyPenguin Tue 12-Jul-16 09:59:25

It was my choice. They said it was considered safe in their view, just a small chance of a heart defect (v v v slim chance) so I stopped straight away.

Lizziedoll Tue 12-Jul-16 10:20:27

I am 5 weeks pregnant and taking citalopram 20mg for anxiety and planning to take it throughout my pregnancy. I saw my doctor yesterday who said that for me the benefits really outweighed the risks and is happy to keep prescribing it to me. I've read stories online of lots of mums who took it during their pregnancy and had perfectly healthy babies. Good luck

AtrociousCircumstance Wed 13-Jul-16 20:27:39

A friend of mine continued to take citalopram throughout her pregnancy. Her three year old DD is absolutely unharmed and racing through her milestones! Don't worry and take care of yourself.

Sophia1984 Wed 13-Jul-16 20:38:30

Don't worry! I was on 20mg of citalopram when I got pregnant and my GP and midwife never suggested that I should come off it. The increase in risk of defects is not conclusively proven and if it does exist it is absolutely tiny and it's incredibly, incredibly unlikely that you have done any damage at all. The fact you have been taking folic acid is much more important for baby's development :-)

I was in exactly the same state of anxiety though and was convinced the 20 week scan was going to find spina bifida, but I am now 37 weeks and have had 4 scans (because I had a low-lying placenta) and baby is completely healthy. I got myself into such a state and I really didn't need to.

In the end, I did decide to come off citalopram at about 20 weeks, because there is a small risk of something called pulmonary hypertension if the mother has taken anti-depressants in the second half of pregnancy. For me, the anxiety that this risk was causing me meant I felt I was better off not being on citalopram, and I weaned myself off it gradually under the supervision of a psychiatrist. It's been a lot easier than I thought it would be. Again, I would stress that this was just my individual decision and no doctor ever said I should come off antidepressants.

Regarding anxiety/depression in pregnancy, there is so much help out there that hopefully you will be able to access through your GP or midwife. I've had regular meetings with a perinatal psychiatrist and have also been able to get CBT. Please don't feel like you should stop taking it straight away, as withdrawal can be really nasty. Best of luck for GP appointment tomorrow x

CarrotVan Thu 14-Jul-16 09:27:36

It's really very, very low risk. You could ask them to prescribe high dose folic acid (5mg) if you're worried about neural tube defects but you should be fine with the normal prenatal dose

It is better for you to be mentally stable than at risk of antenatal depression

BeardMinge Thu 14-Jul-16 10:04:42

I have several friends who have taken citalopram throughout pregnancy and all of their children are fine.

I stopped taking mine, but only because I was no longer depressed (my depression had been in the most part related to my apparent infertility).

Narabug764 Sat 16-Jul-16 09:14:07

Thank you so much for all of your responses. It is so reassuring and good of you to take the time to share.
I have been to the GP and he said that 'loads of women conceive on and stay on citalopram throughout pregnancy and everything is fine.' He suggested I take 10mg for one more week then stop. I felt really reassured by this, but I woke again this morning with an anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach - a niggling doubt about what if the chamber of the heart hasn't closed or I have done something to the baby.

RochelleGoyle Sat 16-Jul-16 11:15:05

Nara, attitudes such as that displayed by your GP are not very helpful. He needs to support you in weighing up the costs/benefits of coming off the meds. Presumably you were prescribed them for a reason and it seems confusing for him to say 'oh loads of women take it when pregnant', but then suggest you come off anyway. 20mg is not a high dose and if you need it to stay mentally well, I would continue to take it. Risks to your baby could be greater if your mental health deteriorates. Hope this makes sense.

Sophia1984 Sat 16-Jul-16 21:04:57

I agree with Rochelle There really isn't any need to come off it that quickly, if at all. I've been seeing a perinatal psychiatrist (so an expert on medication) and he never suggested that I came off it, he just gave advice on what the tiny risks were when I said I was anxious, and supported me when I decided that's what I wanted to do.

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