Article at a Glance:
- Everything that a pregnant woman ingests can affect her developing baby.
- Zoloft is used to treat panic attacks, depression, OCD, and other mental health conditions.
- Some studies show that Zoloft can cause a developing baby to have heart defects and other health conditions.
- The FDA classifies Zoloft as a “category C” drug for pregnancy risk, which means there is a lack of research about its safety during pregnancy.
- Discuss with your doctor whether taking Zoloft during pregnancy is right for you.
Is Zoloft safe to take while pregnant?
When a woman becomes pregnant, everything she ingests can impact the developing fetus. This includes foods and beverages, as well as over-the-counter drugs, prescription medications, and illegal drugs. For this reason, it is recommended that women avoid using substances as much as possible during their pregnancy. However, this may prove to be difficult if not impossible for some women who depend on prescription medications to function in their daily lives.
Zoloft is a prescription medication used to treat several disorders including depression, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder, and more. It is an antidepressant classified as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).
If you are wondering whether you can take Zoloft while pregnant, schedule a meeting with your doctor to discuss the potential benefits and risks of the medication. Currently, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) classifies Zoloft under pregnancy risk category C. This category indicates there is a lack of significant human research to determine whether Zoloft is completely safe for use during pregnancy.
If you are currently using Zoloft and become pregnant, do not adjust your treatment schedule until speaking with your doctor. Abruptly stopping your Zoloft treatment will put you at greater risk of experiencing Zoloft withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, insomnia, vivid dreams, headaches, dizziness, tiredness, irritability, achy muscles, chills, nausea, and depression. These withdrawal symptoms may add unneeded stress for the developing fetus, which is why you should talk to your doctor about tapering off Zoloft if you do not want to use it during your pregnancy.
Some studies have indicated babies who are exposed to Zoloft in the womb may develop birth defects such as heart defects. However, most studies show that women who use Zoloft during pregnancy are just as likely to give birth to babies with birth defects as those who do not use Zoloft during pregnancy.
Other studies have shown a correlation between SSRI use during pregnancy and issues such as low birth weight, premature delivery, and pulmonary hypertension. If you use Zoloft throughout your pregnancy, your baby may experience withdrawal symptoms after birth. These symptoms include jitteriness, vomiting, excessive crying, increased muscle tone, irritability, difficulty sleeping, tremors, feeding issues, and trouble regulating body temperature. Although, not all babies who are exposed to Zoloft while in the womb will experience withdrawal.
Because there have been some studies showing Zoloft has negative effects on the fetus, you should discuss with your doctor in detail whether using Zoloft during pregnancy is right for you.
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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.