Depression: treatment during pregnancy

Paula Russell, Principal Pharmacist, Regional Drug and Therapeutics Centre (Newcastle Upon Tyne)Published Last updated See all updates

Signposting evidence-based information on the treatment of depression in pregnancy

Condition management

It is important to complete an individual risk assessment for your patient and to apply the principles of prescribing during pregnancy when looking at the available information and making treatment decisions. Check to see if a risk assessment has already been completed by the specialist team.

Untreated or inadequately treated depression can have adverse effects on the mother and therefore on the foetus.


NICE and CKS provide good information including the selection of therapies in order of preference based on evidence.

The information considers three scenarios:

You should check if there is local guidance for you to use in your area.

Pregnancy outcome information

UK Teratology Information Service (UKTIS) provides more detailed information on pregnancy outcomes for all the common individual antidepressants.

There is also an overview of the use of serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in pregnancy.

Patient information

Each of the UKTIS summaries has corresponding Best Use of Medicines in Pregnancy (BUMPS) patient information.

NHS Medicines A-Z provides a summary statement on the use in pregnancy of specific antidepressants such as citalopram, escitalopram, sertraline and venlafaxine

More from safety in pregnancy

All our training and guidance to help decision making about the use of medicines in pregnancy

Change history

  1. Removed link to the NICE pathway flowchart of pharmacological options as no longer on NICE website.
  1. Published