Maternal vulnerability to adversity has long-term impact on the developing child. About 20% of the pregnant women suffer from affective disorders. Fetal exposure to maternal adversity may lead to detrimental consequences later in life. Maternal affective disorders are increasingly treated with antidepressants, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). However, the long-term consequences for the offspring after exposure to this medication are unclear. The interplay between maternal adversity and SSRI treatment has been under investigation and here we discuss how maternal adversity and SSRIs are able to shape offspring development. Specifically, we will discuss animal models addressing behavioral outcomes to understand how the prenatal environment influences the health of the developing child across the life span.
Part of the book: Antidepressants