Taking Neurontin During Pregnancy: What You Need to Know

Is it okay to take Neurontin while pregnant?

Neurontin is a prescription medication that is used to control and prevent seizures. Neurontin may also be used to treat nerve pain following shingles. This medication is classified as an anticonvulsant. More common side effects of Neurontin can include dizziness, drowsiness, unsteadiness, memory loss, poor coordination, difficulty speaking, viral infections, tremors, double vision, fever, and jerky movements. If you are pregnant and begin using Neurontin and these side effects become too much for you, let your doctor know right away. Generally, they should go away with time as your body adjusts to the medication.

If you are pregnant or are considering becoming pregnant and wonder if Neurontin is safe for you to use, schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss this topic. Generally, Neurontin is not recommended for pregnant women to use unless the benefits of the medication outweigh the risk. Your provider will be able to determine whether using Neurontin during pregnancy is right for you. An example of a situation where a woman may need to use Neurontin during pregnancy is if she suffers from extreme seizures. Because having a seizure can negatively affect the mother and the fetus developing in her womb, it is more beneficial for the pregnant woman to use Neurontin than to let her seizures go untreated. However, using Neurontin during pregnancy should always be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Currently, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) classifies Neurontin under the pregnancy risk category C. This category indicates there is not enough research or well-controlled studies on humans to deem this medication safe. Some animal studies have shown issues for the fetus if Neurontin is used during pregnancy, though these findings cannot be confirmed with human subjects. For this reason, it is recommended women only use Neurontin during pregnancy if necessary.

If you are currently using Neurontin and become pregnant, let your doctor know about your pregnancy as soon as possible. Also, you should never adjust your Neurontin treatment schedule without consulting your doctor first. If you suddenly stop using Neurontin, you will likely experience withdrawal symptoms of the medication. Withdrawal symptoms of Neurontin may include anxiety, appetite changes, crying spells, depression, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, insomnia, irritability, itching, muscle pain, nausea, restlessness, seizures, sleep disturbances, spasms, stomach pain, suicidal thinking, and sweating. To reduce the possibility of Neurontin withdrawal as much as possible, you should talk to your doctor about tapering off the medication if you no longer want to use it during your pregnancy.

Taking Neurontin During Pregnancy: What You Need to Know

During pregnancy, the fetus is very sensitive to everything a woman puts in her body. For this reason, it is recommended that women monitor everything they ingest during pregnancy and avoid drugs like over-the-counter drugs, prescription medications, and illegal substances as much as possible. Although, some women may need to remain on medications throughout their pregnancy if the benefits outweigh the risk.

Some small studies have indicated babies who were exposed to Neurontin in the womb have a higher rate of preterm births and low birth weight. Other studies have shown no correlation between using Neurontin during pregnancy and miscarriage, stillbirth, or behavioral problems such as ADHD or autism spectrum disorder in children. Using Neurontin during pregnancy may put your newborn at risk for Neurontin withdrawal. Therefore, you should monitor your newborn closely for Neurontin withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms may include high-pitched crying, irritability, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, seizures, and more.

However, more research needs to be conducted to confirm these findings.

Because of the lack of research on Neurontin during pregnancy and the FDA’s classification for it, you should only use Neurontin during pregnancy when necessary under the supervision of your doctor. Do not use any more Neurontin than what you are prescribed.

If you wish to breastfeed while using Neurontin, make sure you discuss the possible adverse effects of Neurontin passing into breast milk and your newborn ingesting it with your provider. Many substances can easily pass into breast milk, which is why it is important for women to continue monitoring what they put into their bodies after pregnancy while they are breastfeeding. If you choose to use Neurontin while breastfeeding, make sure you monitor your newborn for symptoms such as drowsiness, poor weight gain, and developmental issues.

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