CHSPR Seminar | In Utero Antidepressant Exposure and Kindergarten Neurodevelopment

Deepa Singal, University of BC

Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019
12-1 pm
Room 219 (within 201), 2206 East Mall
School of Population and Public Health
University of British Columbia

Depression during pregnancy is a significant health concern. Selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors are one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressant medications, including in pregnancy. Few studies have investigated long-term neurodevelopmental effects of in utero exposure to antidepressants. Recent studies have yielded conflicting results regarding increased risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder. These investigations indicate in utero SSRI exposure may have implications on fetal development and sustained cognitive impairment into childhood. Investigation into additional long-term outcomes are scarce.

This seminar will describe an ongoing study that uses population based administrative data housed at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy to investigate the impact of in utero SSRI and SNRI exposure on development as reflected in children’s ability to meet age-appropriate developmental expectations in kindergarten, using the Early Development Index (EDI). This seminar will also discuss important challenges in this field of investigation, including the complexities of controlling for confounding and disease severity, as well as the implications of presenting this information to public and patients, as women debating whether to continue their medications must weigh the risks of untreated depression versus antidepressants to their unborn child.

Deepa Singal is a quantitative researcher who uses administrative data to study important issues in child and maternal health. She is a CIHR Health System Impact Fellow at UBC and the BC Academic Health Sciences Network and is working to advance learning heath systems in BC. She completed in PhD at the University of Manitoba at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy in 2017.

A light lunch is included in this seminar. Please contact Joyce ( to RSVP for lunch by Friday Oct. 25. You may also join remotely via GoToMeeting: Please let Joyce know if you would like to join this way.