A Systematic Review of the Safety of Electroconvulsive Therapy Use During the First Trimester of Pregnancy.J ECT. 2016 Dec; 32(4):230-235.JE
Because of the lack of focus on the safety of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) during the first trimester of pregnancy in current literature, we set out to assess the safety of ECT use during this vital period of fetal development.
A systematic review was conducted, and a case where ECT was employed during the first trimester was presented. Cochrane Library, Ovid MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and PubMed were independently searched by 2 authors using the following search terms: "ECT," "electroconvulsive therapy," "electroshock" combined with "pregnancy," "first trimester of pregnancy," and "teratogenicity."
Of the 97 articles reviewed, 13 met inclusion criteria. We identified 32 first-trimester patients as cases or case series. Adverse outcomes, including miscarriage with previous vaginal bleeding, vaginal bleeding, self-limited abdominal pain, and self-limited fetal spasms, were observed. We added 1 case of a pregnant patient at approximately 9 weeks gestation who experienced a threatened abortion after the administration of ECT.
Although the data are limited, they suggest that ECT is relatively safe when administered during the first trimester of pregnancy. The possible adverse consequences of ECT during the first trimester of pregnancy should be carefully weighed against the potential benefits of ECT on untreated mental illness.