The Hazards of Paxil: Adults and children taking Paxil have experienced a number of dangerous side effects. Pregnant women face two major hazards based on evidence from thousands of Paxil users: higher-than-normal risk of death; and birth defects. Birth defects have included spina bifida, autism spectrum disorder, malformed limbs, scoliosis, and cleft lip or palate. Also, women who took Paxil in the second and third trimester of pregnancy were twice as likely to have a child with autism as those who did not take the drug. The risk of birth defects from Paxil is twice as great as the risk of birth defects from other antidepressants.