Long term impact of prenatal exposure to SSRIs on growth and body weight in childhood: Evidence from animal and human studies

Luke E. Grzeskowiak, Andrew L. Gilbert, Janna L. Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-109
Number of pages9
JournalReproductive Toxicology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • 5-HT
  • Body weight
  • Depression
  • Fetal exposure
  • Overweight
  • Pregnancy
  • SSRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology

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