Lexapro and Pregnancy

Lexapro is in a class of drugs known as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), which have been linked to numerous birth defects in infants born to mothers who took the medication during their pregnancies.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists Lexapro as a Class C drug. This description means the drug has been found to cause birth defects in animal laboratory studies, but no adequate studies have produced conclusive results about the drugs’ effects in humans. Drugs in category C, according to the FDA, should be used only when their benefits clearly outweigh their risks.

Lexapro Birth Defects

Although no proper birth defects studies have been done on Lexapro in humans, studies using doses higher than the normal dose people usually take do show teratogenic (causing developmental abnormalities in the embryo or fetus) effects.

The following birth defects are among the birth defects found in babies born to mothers taking SSRIs:

Signs that the infant may have birth defects include:

Low weight due to feeding problems

Slow physical development

Skin that is slightly blue in color, due to low blood oxygen levels


Other Disorders Linked to SSRIs

Between 20 and 30 percent of newborns whose mothers took SSRIs towards the end of their pregnancies also have the following disorders:


Muscle tone that is not normal

Suction disorders while feeding


Hyponatremia (low salt in the tissues between cells, resulting in abnormal mental status, confusion, and decreased consciousness)

What Is Lexapro?

Lexapro is an SSRI antidepressant and also is used to treat general anxiety disorder. These types of antidepressants help to regulate the amount of serotonin available to the brain, and serotonin is known to be a mood stabilizer.

The medication is manufactured by Forest Laboratories, Inc., and was approved in August 2002. The label carries a warning about its use in children, adolescents and young adults, saying there is an increased risk in these patients of suicidal thoughts and behavior. That, however, presents a complication regarding using the medication, because such patients already have these tendencies, and it may be difficult to know if they are caused by the drug or the patient’s preexisting condition.

If you’ve taken Lexapro and your baby is born with a birth defect, our birth defect lawyers may be able to help you. To learn more, please contact us today.