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What are some safe anxiety medications to use while pregnant?

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Quick Answer

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America explains that any anxiety treatment during pregnancy has risks and benefits because it involves some medication transfer from mother to fetus. However, use of antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors during pregnancy has no known significant teratogenic effects, according to the Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

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According to the Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, a practitioner should prescribe anxiety treatment drugs only when the risks of depression for the pregnant mother and unborn child outweigh the risks of the drugs’ side effects. Sertraline and fluvoxamine have a high risk of gastrointestinal side effects, such as nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. Paroxetine is an SSRI associated with weight gain in pregnant women.

The ADAA recommends that women who plan to bear children and have mild symptoms of depression for six months or longer try to reduce use of antidepressants. Women who have a history of serious anxiety or depression should continue to use antidepressants during pregnancy. Pregnant women struggling with anxiety may also try alternative or supplemental remedies, such as behavioral therapy. A patient should always discuss the best options with her doctor before picking a specific anxiety treatment plan during pregnancy.

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