Pregnancy Health: Anxiety Medications

Dr. Elizabeth Pryor answers the question, Are anxiety medications safe to take during pregnancy?

Question

I am three months pregnant. For about three years, under a doctor's care, I have been taking Vicodin for back pain and Xanax for anxiety. Is it safe to continue using these medications during my pregnancy?

Answer

Typically, we do not continue narcotics during pregnancy if they can be avoided. These are strong medicines, but fortunately they have never been proven to cause birth defects. I would recommend an ultrasound at around 18 weeks to check the baby. At 16 weeks you can take an alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) test to check for certain birth defects, including spina bifida. The majority of mothers taking a prescription narcotic have no problems.

It is important to communicate closely with your physician. Make sure that your obstetrician notifies the pediatrician when you deliver so the pediatrician can best assess your baby's health.

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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