How Safe Is It To Take Anxiety Medication During Pregnancy?

Photographed by Eylul Aslan.

It's been found that women may be at a greater risk of anxiety than men are, and pregnant women are of course no exception. But when it comes to anxiety disorder treatment, pregnant women can often receive confusing advice.

According to a new study, however, women who need treatment don't need to stop taking medications during pregnancy. Moreover, it found that having an anxiety disorder or panic disorder does not appear to be a risk for the baby.

It wasn't necessarily that medications during pregnancy are always risk-free, but the study's researchers didn't find enough harm to conclude that taking medications is a huge risk.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, followed more than 2,600 people throughout pregnancy and postpartum. About 98 of the participants had panic disorder, and 252 had generalized anxiety disorder. Sixty-seven of them were treated with a benzodiazepine (such as Xanax or Klonopin), and 293 were treated with a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (such as Zoloft or Prozac) during pregnancy.

Both benzodiazepine treatments and SSRI treatments were associated with shorter pregnancies, and the babies born to people who took them were more likely to require oxygen or other minor respiratory help after delivery. However, study author Kimberly Yonkers, MD, told NPR that "it should be reassuring that we're not seeing a huge magnitude of an effect here."

Of course, every person is different, and you'll need to check with your doctor for advice particular to you, but the study hopefully provides some insight for parents-to-be who are coping with mental health.

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