When Meghan Trainor welcomed her son, Riley, in 2021, he was rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
The little boy, who was breech and born by cesarean section, required a feeding tube.
As Trainor told TODAY Parents that year, “It was a rough start.”
In a new interview with Romper, Trainor, 28, recalled feeling blamed by nurses for her baby’s health. While speaking with the outlet, the singer said hospital staff “had no name" for Riley's condition, but noted that he was very sleepy and had trouble waking up for feedings.
“They kept asking me if I was on antidepressants during the pregnancy, and I was, but I was on the lowest dose possible, and all my doctors said it was safe and wouldn’t affect him,” she explained.
Riley is now 19 months old and thriving. Trainor told Romper that she and her husband, actor Daryl Sabara, plan to start trying for baby No. 2 in the coming months.
There is generally no need to taper off antidepressants, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), during pregnancy, according to Dr. Angela Bianco, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Mount Sinai Health System.
"All of the data that we have to counsel patients is very reassuring," Bianco told TODAY. "We have a decent amount of retrospective data that seem to be associated with excellent pregnancy outcomes."
Nicole Warren, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, said she is glad Trainor is bringing the topic to the forefront.
“If a person is stable on an SSRI and then goes off of it, they may start to experience worsening symptoms of depression,” Warren told TODAY. “And we know that experiencing depression is associated with poor outcomes, such as impaired judgment. You could also have insomnia, anxiety and suicidal ideation.”
There are consequences for babies too. Infants born to women with depression are more likely to be irritable, less active and have fewer facial expressions, according to a report from the American Psychiatric Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
“Depression in pregnancy is a serious threat to the well-being of both the parent and the baby,” Warren said.
There are some risks involved with taking antidepressants during pregnancy, including poor neonatal adaptation syndrome (PNAS). Symptoms of PNAS can include jitteriness, feeding difficulties and hypoglycemia. PNAS is usually temporary and doesn’t require any special care or medical intervention, Warren said.
Bianco said there is also "very, very small" increased risk of structural heart disease in the fetus.
"If a mother is using an antidepressant, we'll order a fetal echocardiogram," she said. "But again, there is a very marginal risk."
"We strongly advocate for women that need antidepressants and anxiolytics (anxiety-reducing medicines) to stay on their medication, and not stop because they're pregnant or trying to get pregnant," she added.
Warren encouraged expectant moms to address any concerns by speaking with their OB-GYN.
“Of course we’re always scared about big, bad, scary things like cardiac defects, but these numbers appear to be quite low and that’s why SSRIs are considered safe in pregnancy,” Warren said. “Untreated depression is unequivocally dangerous to both the parent and the newborn. That’s not up for debate.”