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Psychotherapeutic Medications in Pregnancy

A woman who is taking a psychotherapeutic medication and plans to become pregnant should discuss her plans with her doctor; if she discovers that she is pregnant, she should contact her doctor immediately.

During early pregnancy, there is a possible risk of birth defects with some of these medications, and for this reason:

  1. Lithium , an antidepressant, is not recommended during the first 3 months of pregnancy.
  2. Benzodiazepines are not recommended during the first 3 months of pregnancy.
The decision to use a psychotherapeutic medication should be made only after a careful discussion with the doctor concerning the risks and benefits to the woman and her baby. Small amounts of medication pass into the breast milk; this is a consideration for mothers who are planning to breast-feed.
A woman who is also taking birth-control pills should be sure that her doctor is aware of this. The oestrogen in these pills may alter the breakdown of medications by the body, for example increasing side effects of some antianxiety medications and/or reducing their efficacy to relieve symptoms of anxiety. For more detailed information, talk to your doctor or mental health professional or consult the reference source for this information.

The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken from the following source(s):
1. National Institute of Mental Health: http://www.nimh.nih.gov


Other HON resources 
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Antianxiety Drugs & Pregnancy
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Anti-Anxiety Agents
Antidepressive Agents
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  http://www.hon.ch/Dossier/MotherChild/preg_drugs/psychotherapeutic.html Last modified: Jun 25 2002