Infant Apgar Scores In Relation to Maternal SSRI Use

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Gee, Madison
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The purpose of this study was to determine if there was a difference in one- and five-minute Apgar scores for infants of women on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) versus women who were not. According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, an Apgar score is defined as: “An accepted and convenient method for reporting the status of the newborn infant immediately after birth and the response to resuscitation if needed” (ACOG, 2015). It is a mnemonic that describes five components of the newborn infant: activity, pulse, grimace, appearance, and respiration. This measurement is completed at one minute and five minutes after birth. SSRIs are a class of medications commonly prescribed to treat depression and anxiety in individuals. Pregnant women are often already taking these medications before they conceive or may be started on them during gestation. This research was a quantitative, comparative study that used a retrospective chart review to obtain data. Researcher completion of the Protecting Human Research Participants online training occurred as part of the process of requirements involving human subjects. Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Institutional Review Board along with the local acute care facility in Western North Carolina granted approval of the study. All individual charts remained confidential and without breach in privacy. A total of 60 charts of women and infants were reviewed. Data analysis demonstrated a statistically significant finding that women not on SSRIs delivered newborns who had higher Apgar scores at 1 and 5 minutes versus women who were on SSRIs during pregnancy. An incidental finding presented that as gestational age in weeks increases, Apgar 1- and 5-minute scores increase.