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DSECT/DSEN Monthly Seminar Series - Apr 27, 2017

“The Quebec Pregnancy Cohort - An opportunity for perinatal pharmacoepidemiology:
Example with Antidepressants and birth defects.”

Presented by

Anick Bérard PhD FISPE
Professor, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Montreal;
Director, Research Unit on Medications and Pregnancy, Ste-Justine Hospital Research Center, Montreal , Quebec

Thursday, April 27 at 3-4pm EDT

Online via GoToWebinar (Space is limited)


Please note: A webinar recording will not be posted following this presentation. 


More than 50% of pregnant women will take at least 1 medication in Canada. Given that Health Canada does not allow pregnant women in clinical trials before a medication becomes available on the market, we have few data on safety and efficacy in this under-served population once drugs are approved. Observational studies are therefore the only way to fill this knowledge gap.

Antidepressants are widely used during pregnancy (11-16%). Data on safety are available but often lack precision given that adverse pregnancy outcomes are rare (birth defects, prematurity, low birth weight and others).

Large population-based cohorts of pregnant women/children, such as the Quebec Pregnancy Cohort, are therefore needed to fill this gap

Learning Objectives:

  1. The usefulness of the Quebec Pregnancy Cohort for perinatal epidemiology and public policy.

  2. Safety of antidepressant use during pregnancy for mothers and children.


  • Bérard A, Sheehy O. The Quebec Pregnancy Cohort--prevalence of medication use  during gestation and pregnancy outcomes. PLoS One. 2014 Apr 4;9(4):e93870.
  • Bérard A, Zhao JP, Sheehy O. Antidepressant use during pregnancy and the risk  of major congenital malformations in a cohort of depressed pregnant women: an updated analysis of the Quebec Pregnancy Cohort. BMJ Open. 2017 Jan 12;7(1):e013372.