Topic: What is prenatal anxiety?
Pregnancy brings many changes, and in some cases, anxiety may occur or worsen. Complications during a person’s pregnancy can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. However, there is a range of treatments that may help.
Unmanaged ongoing anxiety during pregnancy, also called prenatal anxiety, can affect the parent and baby. However, the right treatment can help manage anxiety in pregnancy.
Many people worry that anxiety may harm their baby. However, the tools, resources, and support that a person needs to manage symptoms are widely available, and there are several options to suit an individual’s needs.
This article looks at anxiety medications that are safe for pregnant individuals. It also discusses other ways to manage symptoms, such as therapy and natural remedies.
Which anxiety medications are safe?
If a doctor recommends medication for prenatal anxiety, there are several options they may prescribe. While all medications have risks, doctors will aim to prescribe the safest medications at the lowest effective dose.
There are medications that doctors use to treat anxiety that they also recommend for treating depression. Antidepressants that healthcare professionals may prescribe during pregnancy include:
- Some selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): A large study found no link between sertraline (Zoloft), one of the most commonly prescribed SSRIs, and congenital disabilities. Although they did find that paroxetine (Paxil) and fluoxetine (Prozac) had some associations with some congenital disabilities, it is important to note that the risk of these conditions is still incredibly low.
- Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs): SNRIs also offer a relatively low-risk option for pregnant individuals with anxiety. Examples of these types of medications include duloxetine (Cymbalta) and venlafaxine (Effexor XR).
- Other medications: Doctors may prescribe other medications if SSRIs or SNRIs are not effective. Individuals can discuss the risks of each with a doctor before taking these.
Doctors sometimes prescribe benzodiazepines to treat severe anxiety. One 2019 meta-analysis found that these medications may have links with an increased risk of certain congenital disabilities. However, more research is necessary to investigate these findings. It is also important to note that exposure to benzodiazepines during pregnancy is rare, and individuals taking them should speak to a healthcare professional if they have concerns.
Topic Discussed: What is prenatal anxiety?
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