Women who take a popular class of antidepressants in the second or third trimester of pregnancy are more likely to have a child with autism, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association's JAMA Pediatrics that some other scientists say raises more questions than answers.
The study singled out serotonin reuptake inhibitors, a group of antidepressants that includes Prozac, Zoloft or Paxil.
Anick Berard with the University of Montreal studied more than 145,000 children born in Quebec between 1998 and 2009.
Thirty-one babies, or 1 percent of the group, whose mothers took antidepressants in later pregnancy were later diagnosed with autism.
Experts were quick to note that the risk is very small and very few children were diagnosed in the study.
Doctors said they are worried the findings will scare many women into stopping antidepressants.
"If there is an effect that SSRIs have on autism, I think it is not a very large effect," said Dr. Eva Pressman, who chairs the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Rochester in New York.
Other studies looking at antidepressants in pregnancy have had mixed results, NBC News reported.