Can You Take Xanax While Pregnant?

When Is Xanax Not Safe? Taking Xanax While Pregnant. Taking Xanax While Pregnant During the First Trimester. Taking Xanax While Pregnant During the Second and Third Trimesters. Effects of Taking Xanax While Pregnant. Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center for Anxiety and Xanax Addiction.

When Is Xanax Not Safe?

Alprazolam, sold under the brand name Xanax, treats anxiety disorders and panic disorder (sudden attacks of extreme fear and worry about these attacks). Alprazolam is in a class of drugs named benzodiazepines. It is a prescription drug that is only recommended for use for up to six weeks because it is habit-forming. Taking Xanax can lead to physical dependence and addiction. Mental health disorders that warrant the need for a medication like Xanax occur in around 500,000 pregnant women every single year. Women are more likely to receive a prescription for a benzodiazepine than men.

Sometimes women suffer from anxiety prior to getting pregnant, and other times, being an expectant mother can add a certain amount of stress that brings anxiety. Hormones also play a hefty role in the development of anxiety and panic. There is a 60 percent increased likelihood of suffering from anxiety disorders among females compared to men. This risk likely stems from women being prone to higher amounts of estrogen and progesterone — two sex hormones with proven ties to emotional and mental health, such as anxiety, depression, and trouble concentrating.

can you take xanax while pregnant
Can you take Xanax while pregnant? Benzodiazepines can potentially cause fetal harm when administered to pregnant women.

But is it safe to use Xanax while pregnant? Probably not. Studies have classified Xanax to be a category D drug for pregnancy. A category D drug is one that is highly potent and can cause harm to the developing fetus. Thus, it is recommended to consult your doctor before taking such medicines. Xanax reaches the fetus through the bloodstream and makes the fetus addicted to this medication. The effects on a pregnancy depend on when in the pregnancy you take Xanax. It can cause serious problems throughout your entire pregnancy, though, so you should avoid it during all three trimesters.

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Taking Xanax While Pregnant

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Alprazolam, at doses eight times the human therapeutic dose produced birth defects in rats and rabbits. An increase in minor skeletal anomalies and in fetal death was seen in rabbits when very high doses, which caused maternal toxicity, were used.

Twenty-one to 33% of pregnant females are estimated to receive psychotropic drugs, and often these medications are prescribed to treat psychiatric symptoms that predate the pregnancy. Despite the risks, benzodiazepines are often used during pregnancy to manage symptoms of anxiety.

In some cases, they are continued throughout the pregnancy, even when they are no longer clinically indicated, because the pregnant mother is physically dependent and discontinuation could harm the fetus due to increased risk of withdrawal symptoms, including seizures.

can you take xanax while pregnant
Can you take Xanax while pregnant? Know if it’s safe to take Xanax while pregnant. Consult your doctor.

Alprazolam and its 2 hydroxylated metabolites are known to cross the placenta. Retrospective studies evaluating pregnancy outcomes of women exposed to Xanax during the first trimester of pregnancy found conflicting results of congenital anomalies.

Positive studies reported the occurrence of cleft lip, inguinal hernia, hypospadias, cryptorchidism, tracheoesophageal fistula, microcephaly, strabismus, congenital hip dislocation, and neonatal withdrawal syndrome, although no clear relationship was found between the use of alprazolam and the congenital malformations.

Alprazolam is also excreted into breast milk in low concentrations. There are few case reports of alprazolam causing neonatal withdrawal syndrome and mild drowsiness in nursing infants. Given the significant concerns of potential risk, but conflicting reports of causation of teratogenic effects, a careful risk-benefit analysis, and informed consent is critical when considering prescribing alprazolam for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

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Taking Xanax While Pregnant During the First Trimester

Taking Xanax during the first trimester (months 1 to 3) of pregnancy could pose possible risks of raising your baby’s chance for birth defects. These could include cleft palate, cleft lip, or more serious problems.

These birth defects could affect the way your baby develops, looks, or functions for the rest of their life. More research is needed to gather more definitive insight regarding the use of Xanax during this stage of pregnancy.

Taking Xanax While Pregnant During the Second and Third Trimesters

Taking Xanax during the second or third trimesters (months 4 to 9) of pregnancy can cause withdrawal syndrome in your baby. This is because Xanax can cause physical or emotional dependence or addiction in your baby.

Little research exists on withdrawal in newborns, but problems could include trouble eating on their own, trouble breathing, and dehydration. These effects could last several days. It’s not known what longer-lasting effects could occur.

Taking Xanax later in pregnancy can also cause floppy infant syndrome, which means the baby may have weak muscles. They may not be able to control their head, arms, and legs, giving them a rag-doll-like appearance. This condition may last 2 to 3 weeks after birth. Floppy infant syndrome and withdrawal could cause your baby to have a low Apgar score.

An Apgar score is a measure of the physical condition of the baby. A low score can mean problems with the baby’s breathing, heart rate, or body temperature.

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Can You Take Xanax While Pregnant? Effects of Taking Xanax While Pregnant

Women who struggle with anxiety before getting pregnant may experience a sudden increase in symptoms while they’re expecting. Even those who have never had issues with anxiety at all can develop them while pregnant. Anxiety isn’t just a consequence of worry or going through a hard time. It is often produced by hormonal fluctuations.

can you take xanax while pregnant
Can you take Xanax while pregnant? When you take Xanax while pregnant in the third trimester, your child may stand a higher chance of having infant syndrome, which can, in turn, lead your baby’s muscles to be weak.

In fact, women can experience many symptoms during pregnancy that are similar to those that might be experienced during menopause, and they’re all because of increased levels of hormones. While pregnant, the body produces more progesterone in those nine months alone than it does outside of pregnancy during a woman’s entire reproductive life cycle. This hormone is known to predispose soon-to-be mothers to turbulent mood swings.

Where does Xanax come in as a contributing factor? Contrary to popular belief, prescriptions do not automatically convey safety. In fact, 1.2 million individuals who were treated in emergency rooms in 2009 had problems that arose from prescription drug abuse, whereas only 974,000 individuals were treated for similar problems stemming from illicit drug abuse.

Xanax is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance and Category D risk in pregnancy. Risks to a developing fetus are numerous. It has been linked to neonatal depression in newborns, trademarked by depressed breathing that leads to death in some cases. Separate studies confirm the presence of mental retardation and delayed motor development in seven out of eight children whose mothers used benzodiazepines such as Xwhile pregnant.

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Anxiety and Pregnancy

Although pregnancy is frequently portrayed as a time of great joy, that’s not the reality for all women. The adverse, long-term, stable, and sometimes, irreparable effects of anxiety during pregnancy can change pregnancy into an agonizing and unpleasant event in a women’s life span. Pregnancy is one of the most stressful events in a woman’s life, as psychologists have cited, pregnancy as an emotional crisis. If this crisis is not properly managed and controlled, it will turn into a prolonged crisis and will leave countless undesirable consequences for the mother and her baby.

High levels of anxiety, during pregnancy, have adverse effects on mother and baby. Anxiety, in early pregnancy, results in loss of fetus, and in the second and the third trimester leads to a decrease in birth weight and increased activity of the Hypothalamus – Hypophysis–Adrenal axis. It causes a change in steroidogenes, destruction of social behavior, and fertility rate in adulthood. Also, anxiety during pregnancy is accompanied by emotional problems, hyperactivity disorder, decentralization, and disturbance in the cognitive development of children.

A study suggested that the level of the heart rate variability in the offspring of anxious mothers is less than in the control group. Such children show more fear in dealing with everyday events in their life. Mother’s anxiety, during pregnancy, is also associated with poor maternal-child interaction. In this way, it’s reported that anxiety and negative mood of mother has been stated as one of the mechanisms of this problem.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center for Anxiety and Xanax Addiction

There is a strong link between mental health conditions, such as anxiety disorder and benzo addiction. Individuals who struggle with mood disorders like anxiety are more susceptible to developing an addiction to drugs, often to self-medicate symptoms of their underlying mental health condition. These co-occurring disorders can make each other worse without proper treatment.

Can you take Xanax while pregnant? The answer is no. If a woman is abusing Xanax and is pregnant, the sooner she can stop taking the drug, the better off she and her baby will be. To determine the most effective ways to treat benzos for anxiety and depression that lead to prescription drug abuse problems, it’s crucial to first get an accurate assessment of all the symptoms. When the symptoms have been evaluated by a mental health professional, it may be determined that another form of mental condition is present and needs a particular type of treatment. Very often, some combination of psychotherapy, medication, and/or lifestyle changes are effective for coping with functional.

Medically-Assisted Detox

Medical detox is often considered the first stage of treatment. It will help you navigate the complicated process of withdrawal, but it doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior that contribute to drug abuse. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete detox.

Cravings are very common during detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient drug rehab helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can provide necessary medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and the effects of withdrawals.

Psychotherapy for Depression and Anxiety

Several different modalities of psychotherapy have been used in the treatment of depression including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – is an effective treatment that involves making changes in both the patterns of negative thoughts and the behavioral routines which are affecting the daily life of the depressed person for various forms of depression.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy – is a comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program whose ultimate goal is to aid patients in their efforts to build a life worth living. The main goal of DBT is to help a person develop what is referred to as a “clear mind.” 
  • Person-Centered Therapy – is a strategy that allows and encourages clients to understand and resolve their concerns in a safe, supportive environment.
  • Solution Focused Therapy – is an approach interested in solutions that can be quickly implemented with a simple first step leading to further positive consequences.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center

Substance abuse and mental health disorders often co-occur. In many cases, traumatic experiences can result in a mental health disorder and substance abuse. Dual diagnosis rehabilitation treats both of these issues together. The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. In this strategy, both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder are treated simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend largely on the treatment for both disorders done by the same team or provider.

Medication-Assisted Treatments

Medication-Assisted Treatments (MAT) for substance use disorders and mental health disorders are commonly used in conjunction with one another. This includes the use of medications and other medical procedures. During your rehab, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. Sometimes, the pressures and problems in your life lead you to rely on substances to help you forget about them momentarily.

Xanax is a benzodiazepine that comes in either tablet or capsule form. Someone with a Xanax addiction may take up to 20 or 30 pills per day. If the user decides to stop the Xanax dosages, they may experience withdrawal effects such as anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and tremors. The development of tolerance and withdrawal are indications of addiction. If you or a loved one are struggling with long-term Xanax and anxiety problems, contact one of our helpful treatment specialists today. We Level Up can provide information on dual diagnosis and detox programs that may fit your needs.

can you take xanax while pregnant
Can you take Xanax while pregnant? No matter what, when dealing with benzo addiction and anxiety problems, the care and supervision of a medical professional are necessary.

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[1] FDA –,021434s006lbl.pdf
[2] DEA –
[3] NIH –
[4] NIH –
[5] NIH -,of%20the%20Hypothalamus%20%E2%80%93%20Hypophysis%E2%80%93Adrenal%20axis%20%283%2C%204%29.
[6] Xanax Addiction – We Level Up NJ

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