Taking Ketamine During Pregnancy: What You Need to Know
Ketamine is a prescription medication used as an anesthesia in both humans and animals. It can also be used to treat depression and pain. However, ketamine is also considered a “club drug” for its hallucinogenic, tranquilizing, and dissociative effects. Ketamine is classified as a dissociative antidepressant.
If you are pregnant or are considering becoming pregnant and are curious about using ketamine during pregnancy, set up a meeting with your doctor to discuss the medication’s safety. Typically, ketamine use is not recommended for use during pregnancy because its effects on the fetus are widely unstudied in human subjects. However, your doctor may prescribe you ketamine during your pregnancy if they believe the benefits of the medication outweigh the risks.
In addition, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has not classified ketamine under a pregnancy risk category. Pregnancy risk categories are outlined by the FDA to determine whether a medication is safe or unsafe to use during pregnancy based on human and animal research studies. Because ketamine is unclassified, it is best to avoid using ketamine while pregnant unless it is necessary.
If you are currently using Ketamine and become pregnant, notify your doctor right away. Using ketamine while pregnant should not be cause for termination of the pregnancy. If you are prescribed this medication and no longer want to use it, ask your doctor about tapering off the medication.
If you are abusing or misusing Ketamine and have developed a dependence on the medication, be sure to seek out a medically assisted detoxification program to support you while you get the substance completely out of your system. This will help the fetus develop normally as your pregnancy continues.
Medically assisted detoxification programs are important because if you stop using Ketamine abruptly you may experience withdrawal symptoms that can make you and the developing fetus uncomfortable. Ketamine withdrawal symptoms may include agitation, confusion, psychosis, delusions, hallucinations, loss of motor skills, rage, nausea, decrease in respiratory or cardiac functions, insomnia, shakes, hearing loss, fatigue, and cognitive impairment. A medically assisted detoxification program can help you manage these withdrawal symptoms while safely removing the ketamine from your body. In addition, most detoxification programs are staffed with medical professionals who can help you understand the withdrawal and recovery processes.
If you have an addiction to ketamine, it is also recommended you seek rehabilitation programs to support your ongoing recovery during pregnancy. The Recovery Village has many resources to help you avoid using ketamine during your pregnancy. This will help you and your baby live a happy, healthy, substance-free life. Ongoing therapy is very important for people who have developed substance use disorders, as relapse is always possible.
When a woman becomes pregnant, the fetus is very sensitive to everything the mother comes into contact with. This is true for food and beverages, as well as other substance such as illegal drugs, prescription medications, and over-the-counter drugs. Generally, women are advised not to use drugs during pregnancy to minimize the risks of negative effects on the fetus. However, this may be difficult or near impossible for some women who depend on medications to function normally in their daily lives.
Specifically, ketamine has shown a few negative effects in animal studies, though no research has been done on human subjects. Animal research has indicated exposure to ketamine in the womb can impair the neuronal development of the prefrontal cortex in rats. This can be associated with abnormal behavior in offsprings. The prefrontal cortex is part of the brain that covers the frontal lobe. This part of the brain is responsible for planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making, moderating social behavior, and more.
Other animal studies have indicated ketamine use during pregnancy resulted in neuroapoptosis, also known as cell death in the brain, in the fetal brains of monkeys.
Even though there is no research on the risk associated with using ketamine during pregnancy in human studies, it is important to be aware that ketamine may likely have a negative effect on the fetus if used while pregnant. For this reason, you should always consult your doctor about using ketamine during pregnancy before you attempt to use it. This is true for all other medications, prescription or not, as well.
Do you or someone you love have questions or concerns about a pregnancy and don’t know where to turn for help? Get support and answers at the American Pregnancy Association at 1-800-672-2296.
If you or someone you know is suffering from a substance use disorder, do not delay in seeking professional help. The Recovery Village has many programs and resources for those looking to start their recovery journey. You can even get started today by searching for treatment options in your area here. To learn more about everything The Recovery Village has to offer, you can visit online at www.TheRecoveryVillage.com or call our 24-hour, toll-free hotline at 855-548-9825. Although recovery isn’t easy, The Recovery Village will be with you each step of the way.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.
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