This is the first of two five minute surveys covering dilemmas that have been thrown up by the Panorama program on antidepressants, anticonvulsants and birth defects.
The dilemma arises from the fact that women going on them are kept in the dark about a number of important issues.
First, they aren’t told that these drugs can cause significant dependence – that they can be more difficult to stop than Heroin, alcohol or other drugs of abuse, so that a woman wanting to get off them before becoming pregnant may not be able to.
Second, they aren’t told that serotonin reuptake inhibiting antidepressants – a group that includes far more than the SSRIs – double the rate of birth defects. This doubling does not take into account a close to doubling of rates of miscarriages, an increase in the rate of voluntary terminations and it now appears developmental delay in children born to mothers who take these throughout pregnancy.
The dilemma that this combination of factors sets up seems close to unique. There is nothing else that a woman can do that has significant consequences for later in her life quite like this.
Perhaps because the issues are new, emotions get heated. Some hear an effort to regulate or control women’s bodies – see The Dark is for Mushrooms. Some hear an effort to keep women in the dark- see Preventing Precaution.
To explore the issues further we have devised two surveys, one about taking medicines in pregnancy and one for four weeks time looking at pre-pregnancy issues.
The first pre-pregnancy survey
There are two versions of the pregnancy survey – one for women and one for their partners.
The survey for women is here.
Whether you are a male or female partner of a woman who is pregnant you have no more place dictating what she takes while pregnant than you would have dictating whether she takes chemotherapy for cancer. But you might be nervous about her choices. So we are asking you to rate how nervous you think the situation would make you if you were fully engaged with your partner but keeping out of her space.
The survey for partners is here.