Depakote (Divalproex sodium) and pregnancy. The FDA warns Depakote can harm an unborn baby. Women who take this medication while pregnant could give birth to a child with serious birth defects. The most common are those that affect the brain and spinal cord, particularly spina bifida or neural tube defects. These defects occur in one or two babies out of 100 that are exposed to Depakote before birth.Unfortunately, these defects can develop in the very first month of pregnancy, before you even know you are pregnant. Studies also show if you take Depakote during pregnancy, your child is at risk for having a lower IQ.