"Adderall has been shown to cause birth defects in mice, so pregnant women are advised not to use it," explains psychiatrist Eva Ritvo, M.D. "Other safer alternatives are available. Make sure you speak with a qualified physician to discuss your options."
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a pregnancy category system to classify potential risks to the fetus from specific medications. "Adderall in pregnancy is a class C drug because there have been no studies directly in humans, but it has adverse effects in lab animals," says board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist Marra Francis, M.D. Category C is often assigned to medications that have not been studied in pregnant women but appear to cause detriment to the fetus in animal studies.
Adderall was shown to cause birth defects and increased miscarriage in lab mice, as well as disordered brain chemical function resulting in long-term memory problems. Additionally, it has been retrospectively found to cause premature birth, low birth weight and a chemical withdrawal syndrome in newborns whose mothers used the drug long-term while pregnant, according to Dr. Francis. Animal studies have also found that prenatal exposure to amphetamines can have long-term behavioral effects, including learning difficulties and memory deficits.