Lexapro and Pregnancy -
Can They Go Together?

Does Lexapro and pregnancy mix? Lexapro has been classified as a Pregnancy Drug Category C. What this means is that there have not been any significant, controlled studies done on pregnant women taking Lexapro. It can also means that animal studies have been done which determined there is potential risk to the unborn fetus. Studies have been done on pregnant women in their third trimester as well as pregnant rats and rabbits.

In terms of pregnant women, it was discovered that babies who were exposed to Lexapro or other anti-depressant medications had greater potential for complications that resulted in hospitalization, required tube feedings and respiratory issues. Some of the conditions that resulted in exposure to an SSRI late in the pregnancy includes the following:

  • seizures

  • respiratory distress

  • tremors

  • hypoglycemia

  • persistent pulmonary hypertension.

    As a result of these findings, if you are thinking about combining Lexapro and pregnancy please discuss this at length with your physician. Generally speaking, it is not recommended that the drug be given to a pregnant woman unless it is absolutely necessary and the benefits to the mother would outweigh the risks to the baby.

    With respect to studies that were done on pregnant rats and rabbits, death and/or inhibited growth of the fetuses were documented. Also, an increased incidence of fetal abnormalities and weight loss was noted. The severity of these effects depended on the dose that was given to the mothers.

    Labor and Delivery

    Because of the limited studies that were done, very little is known about the effect of this medication at this stage.

    If You Are Nursing

    As a nursing mother, you know that what you take into your system ultimately ends up in the breast milk, although much less of it. So the question is how much of it ends up in the milk and is it harmful to the baby. In the case of Lexapro, approximately 3.9% of the dose (maternal weight adjusted) ends up in the milk and consumed by the baby. Nursing mothers reported increased drowsiness, smaller appetite and weight loss. Once the medication was discontinued, the symptoms went away.

    If you are considering taking Lexapro while nursing be sure to watch out for any signs that there are adverse effects on your baby. By the way, congrats on your decision to nurse your baby. I did it as well and just loved it! It is such an amazing thing we, as women, can do for and with our children.

    If you are considering combining any drug, including Lexapro and pregnancy think long and hard about the risks versus the benefits. Don’t make this decision without consulting your doctors. There are several Lexapro side effects that should be considered as well. Other Articles of Interest:

  • Lexapro and Weight Loss: Does this medication cause weight loss?

  • Lexapro Sexual Side Effects: How does this medication effect the libido?

  • Lexapro Withdrawal Symptoms: What you need to know before you stop taking your medication

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