Babies who have been exposed to antipsychotics during pregnancy have been shown to have abnormal neuromotor performance according to a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. The study was led by Katrina Johnson, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University. Dr. Johnson received a NARSAD Young Investigator Grant from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation in 2010 for this work.
Dr. Johnson and her colleagues examined the association of prenatal exposure to antipsychotics, antidepressants and maternal psychiatric illness in 6-month-old infants with adverse neuromotor and attentional outcomes. They conducted a prospective controlled study from December 1999 through June 2008 by examining 309 mother-infant pairs at six months postpartum with pregnancy exposure to antipsychotics (22), antidepressants (202) or no psychotropic agents (85). "The results from the current study show that 6-month-old infants exposed prenatally to an antipsychotic demonstrated significantly lower scores on a standardized neuromotor screening measure compared with both antidepressant-exposed infants and infants with no psychotropic exposure. Only 19 percent of infants prenatally exposed to an antipsychotic demonstrated normal neuromotor performance," the authors commented.