Prenatal exposure to SSRIs has the potential to alter fetal 5-HT signalling during critical periods of development: the long-term consequences of which have not been well studied. Of particular interest are the potential long-term effects of prenatal SSRI exposure on growth and body weight in later life, given the role of the serotonergic system in regulating food intake and body weight. Animal studies demonstrate that changes in 5-HT homeostasis during critical periods of fetal development can lead to sex-specific molecular and functional alterations in the serotonergic and HPA systems, leading to an increased risk of overweight in male, but not female, offspring in later life. This review highlights the evidence and the need for studies in humans to determine whether prenatal SSRI exposure is associated with alterations in child growth and body weight and the importance of delineating these effects from those of the underlying maternal illness.
- Body weight
- Fetal exposure