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What are the effects of labetalol on a fetus?

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Quick Answer

Labetalol does not usually affect the fetus; however, in rare cases the labetalol may slow the heart rate of the fetus, according to WebMD. To prevent the heart rate from slowing, doctors will monitor the blood pressure of the mother and ensure that medicine is reduced, if necessary, for the health of the fetus.

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Full Answer

Labetalol is the generic name for the high blood pressure medication used during pregnancy. Its brand name is Trandate. Labetalol is an alpha and beta blocker drug that is given through an IV or orally. It is used to lower the blood pressure of women when they are pregnant.

For pregnant women who have asthma, bronchitis, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, hyperthyroidism, or a slow heart rate, the medication must be used with extreme caution. Although Labetalol is usually tolerated well, it does have side effects. If a woman has trouble breathing or sees a swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat then that woman should call her doctor immediately.

Labetalol lowers the blood pressure quickly in pregnant women and this is why there is concern over the possible slowing of the fetus's heart rate. Labetalol is rarely used to treat mild high blood pressure during pregnancy and is only used for extreme high blood pressure cases.

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