The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has announced that they have received new information, based on studies done abroad, regarding use of antidepressant Paxil and pregnancy risks.

Paxil belonged to a Category C indicating that there was evidence of potential problems in animal studies but was recently switched to D category, indicating that there could be harm in humans.

Paxil’s use in early pregnancy has been linked to heart malformations in fetuses.

Health experts advise that the drug should be avoided if possible in cases of pregnancy and during pregnancy planning. Also, they advise women who had taken the drug before becoming pregnant and during early pregnancies should consider having a fetal ultrasound or fetal echocardiogram to look at the baby's heart to make sure everything’s alright.

Other antidepressants who belong to the same SSRIs antidepressant group like Prozac, Zoloft and Lexapro haven’t been linked to fetus malformations.

However, researchers advise that each case and each depressed woman taking medications should be looked at individually and the risks and benefits should be outweighed.

Those women who have been taking the medications regularly before pregnancy shouldn’t abruptly stop taking them. It has been shown that about two-thirds of the women who abruptly stopped medications during pregnancy relapsed into depression, while a quarter or less relapsed when not on anti-depressants.