Can you take Lexapro while pregnant?

During pregnancy, women and their developing fetuses are very sensitive. This is why it is important to monitor everything you ingest while pregnant. Substances like over-the-counter drugs, prescription medications and illegal drugs may have an impact on your baby. It is recommended women stay as drug-free as possible during pregnancy. Although, this may be very difficult or even impossible for women who depend on prescription medications to function in their daily lives.

Lexapro is a prescription medication given to people to treat their depression and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). This medication is classified as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). If you currently use Lexapro and become pregnant or are considering becoming pregnant, schedule a meeting with your doctor as soon as possible.

There has not been much research done regarding the safety of using Lexapro while pregnant. Because of this lack of data, you should only take Lexapro while pregnant if it is necessary. Your doctor will be able to determine if the benefits of staying on Lexapro while pregnant outweigh the possible risks of using the medication.

If you are on Lexapro and become pregnant, do not adjust your treatment schedule until speaking with your doctor. Abruptly stopping treatment could put you at great risk for Lexapro withdrawal, which could then be unhealthy for your growing fetus.

How can Lexapro Affect Your Baby?

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) classifies Lexapro in the category C for the safety of use during pregnancy. This category indicates there has not been enough clinical research on humans to deem the medication safe.

Other SSRI antidepressants have been associated with several issues for fetuses and newborns. These include developmental toxicities such as spontaneous abortions, low birth weight, prematurity, neonatal serotonin syndrome, neonatal behavioral syndrome, sustained abnormal neurobehavioral beyond the neonatal period, respiratory distress and persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN) in the newborn.

In addition, neonates who were exposed to Lexapro, other SSRIs and SNRIs during the late third trimester have been shown to develop complications that include prolonged hospitalization, respiratory support and tube feeding. These can happen immediately once the baby is born.

Because of the associated risk of using Lexapro and other SSRIs on the fetus and newborn baby, it is suggested women do not use these types of medications during their pregnancy. For more information, set up a meeting with your doctor to discuss the effects of Lexapro on newborn babies in more detail. If you are currently using Lexapro and want to discontinue your treatment before conceiving, speak to your doctor about tapering off the medication well before you plan for a baby.

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Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with 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 providers.