Is It Safe To Use Xanax (Alprazolam) While Pregnant?

Alprazolam, brand name Xanax, is a prescription medication that helps treat anxiety and panic disorder. Pregnant women experiencing extreme stress may take Xanax for emotional relief, but many potential risks can affect the pregnancy. Some of these dangers include birth defects and substance abuse.

Many people take alprazolam, brand name Xanax, to help treat symptoms of anxiety. Though it can be effective, Xanax abuse is a common side effect of taking the prescription drug.

Pregnant women are at risk of drug misuse from high levels of stress. There are several dangers that Xanax can inflict on a mother and the baby.

There are alternatives to treat anxiety during pregnancy, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Below we’ll explore some, along with the effects of taking Xanax while pregnant.

How Can Xanax Affect Pregnant Women?

Xanax is one of many prescription benzodiazepines (benzos) used to treat panic and anxiety disorders. Benzodiazepine medications slow down brain activity and create sedation.

The use of benzodiazepines can help treat mental health conditions, but physical dependence can quickly form, leading to a benzodiazepine addiction.

Pregnancy is a delicate time for both the mother and fetus. Taking Xanax may have several effects on a developing baby and the mother because it works on the central nervous system.

Some of these effects are:

  • neonatal withdrawal
  • congenital disabilities and malformations
  • drug dependence
  • memory issues
  • poor concentration
  • hormonal imbalances

There is an increased risk of forgetting healthcare checkups when Xanax is taken while pregnant.

If Xanax is stopped cold turkey, withdrawal symptoms can cause suicidal ideation or seizures.

Risks Of Using Xanax During Pregnancy

Xanax is known to cross the placenta, affecting the fetus. Still, Xanax is sometimes prescribed to pregnant women.

We have already mentioned some of the risks Xanax can have on pregnancy, but let’s take a deeper look into some of the dangers.

Congenital Disabilities

If Xanax is taken during the first trimester, many different congenital disabilities can appear. Prenatal Xanax use can also cause complications.

Some congenital disabilities include from Xanax use are:

  • cleft palate
  • cleft lip
  • inguinal hernia
  • microcephaly
  • hip dislocation

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Drug abuse of any kind during pregnancy can lead to the baby being dependent on that substance after birth. Xanax has a difficult detox period. A newborn’s withdrawal experience can be life-threatening.

Postpartum withdrawal symptoms include:

  • sleeping complications
  • excessive crying due to irritability
  • trouble latching during breastfeeding and eating in general
  • slow heart rate
  • labored breathing
  • low birth weight
  • seizures
  • cyanosis (bluish skin tone)
  • interference of maternal bonding
  • fever-like symptoms, including stuffy nose, high body temperature, sweating, and trembling
  • vomiting and diarrhea

Floppy Infant Syndrome

Taking Xanax during the second or third trimester can result in floppy infant syndrome (FIS), which is when the baby has low muscle tone. This is sometimes called hypotonia.

A newborn with FIS will appear to be limp or ragdoll-like when held. The baby may have trouble holding up his or her head.

Xanax Withdrawal And Detox

Similar to any powerful substance, habitually taking Xanax builds tolerance. To feel desired effects, someone may have to take more.

When drug use increases, the severity of withdrawal symptoms may be harsher. Symptoms start when the abuse stops. Xanax is known to have one of the toughest withdrawal periods.

Symptoms include:

  • blurred vision
  • decreased appetite
  • sensitivity to noise, light, and touch
  • mood swings
  • cramps
  • diarrhea

If Xanax is taken during pregnancy, some of these symptoms can lead to complications for the baby and mother, such as malnutrition.

Alternatives To Xanax During Pregnancy

Feeling anxious during pregnancy is natural. However, taking Xanax isn’t always necessary to relieve emotional distress.

Obstetricians and health care providers can help you create a treatment plan that addresses anxiety and avoids unsafe drug administration.

Some treatment options are:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: This therapy approach helps pregnant people learn healthy thinking patterns and create relapse prevention strategies.
  • Antidepressants: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are an alternative to benzodiazepines that are considered safe to use during pregnancy.
  • Holistic approaches: Yoga, meditation, and exercise can help release endorphins and clear the mind of stress.

Find Addiction Treatment In Massachusetts

Xanax addiction is treatable with several levels of care. We offer medical detox, inpatient programs, and outpatient services at Spring Hill Recovery Center.

Our programs utilize different therapeutic approaches, such as dual diagnosis treatment, which can help with anxiety and Xanax abuse while pregnant.

Call one of our drug specialists today to learn more about our treatment facility.

  1. Centers For Disease And Control Prevention — Pregnant Women Report Taking Medicines for Anxiety And Other Mental Health Conditions
  2. Medline Plus — Alprazolam
  3. National Library Of Medicine — Pregnancy And Neonatal Outcomes After Exposure To Alprazolam In Pregnancy

Written by Spring Hill Recovery Editorial Team

© 2024 Spring Hill Recovery | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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