How to Find Safe Antianxiety Medication While Pregnant

Two Methods:Consult a Health Professional for Medication AdviceConsider Natural Antianxiety Treatments

Although many medications are contraindicated during pregnancy because of potential effects on the developing baby, there are some options for treating anxiety safely during pregnancy. Follow the steps below to find a safe antianxiety medication to use when pregnant.

Method 1
Consult a Health Professional for Medication Advice

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    Ask whether it is safe to continue using your current medication. Many antianxiety medications are not recommended for use during the first trimester of pregnancy due to their ability to cross the placenta to the fetus, potentially causing birth defects, developmental delays, or drug dependency.
    • Benzodiazepines (BZDs), tricyclic antidepressants, fluoxetine, paroxetine, and certain other antidepressant or antianxiety medications can cause birth defects or complications when used during pregnancy and should be avoided when possible.
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    Ask about scientific research indicating safety during pregnancy for any antianxiety medication you are prescribed. Although additional research is necessary, the lowest useful dose of many Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and many antidepressants can often effectively treat anxiety during pregnancy without considerable increases in the risk of birth defects or postpartum infant complications.
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    Some evidence suggests that the risk of birth defects increases with the duration and dosage of the drug used, so ask for the lowest effective dose if medication is deemed necessary after a consultation with a health professional.
    • If possible, SSRI use should be reduced or restricted in the third trimester to prevent problems with dependency and low activity levels in the newborn.
    • If you have a serious psychological condition, most health professionals will recommend continued pharmaceutical treatment despite a potential risk to the baby. Pregnancy outcomes tend to be worse for women with severe conditions who discontinue medication during pregnancy.
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    Discuss the safety of antianxiety prescriptions with your pharmacist. Inform the pharmacist of your pregnancy and ask about the safety of your prescribed antianxiety medication.
    • Pharmacists often have excellent knowledge about drug contraindications and research for safe prescription drug use.
    • Ask for information about side effects that could cause problems for the baby (such as changes in blood pressure) or that indicate a need to discontinue use.
    • Also ask about potential interactions of your antianxiety medication with food, beverages, and other medications to prevent dangerous complications.
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    Be alert for any side effects of antianxiety medications during pregnancy. The hormonal changes caused by pregnancy can impact the pharmokinetics of antianxiety medications, altering the way they work in your system.
    • If the medication causes vision changes, difficulty breathing, dizziness, significant stomach upset, or other worrisome symptoms, consult a health professional immediately and ask about changing medications or dosages.
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    Ask about reducing your dosage or weaning yourself off of antianxiety medication, if possible. If you are concerned about the potential effect of antianxiety medication on your developing baby or if the antianxiety medications that are safe for pregnant women are not helping your symptoms, you may be able to reduce or discontinue the use of medication just for the duration of your pregnancy.
    • In some cases, pregnant women can reduce the dosage of antianxiety medication without experiencing noticeable increases in anxiety-related symptoms.
    • Some women may also be able to gradually discontinue the use of antianxiety medication during pregnancy or breastfeeding by scaling back on dosage over time (to prevent withdrawal symptoms).
    • Always work with a physician to safely discontinue or reduce medication, as some antianxiety medications create dependency.
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    Ask about professional talk therapy. Many women can successfully manage anxiety with counseling and talk therapy sessions during pregnancy. Support groups and regular counseling sessions can teach women with certain anxiety disorders strategies for managing symptoms without pharmaceuticals. These may not be able to replace medication therapy for women with severe anxiety disorders.

Method 2
Consider Natural Antianxiety Treatments

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    Learn to meditate or try relaxation therapy. Some individuals with diagnosed anxiety disorders can learn to control anxiety and prevent panic attacks with meditation, relaxation therapy, and preventive sessions of prayer or personal reflection.
    • Consider joining a meditation class or follow simple online instructions on how to meditate.
    • It is important to meditate or perform relaxation techniques on a regular basis to reap the benefits of this mental calming process.
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    Take a prenatal yoga class. Exercise can be a safe and effective way to reduce anxiety during pregnancy, and yoga is acclaimed for its ability to calm the mind and provide a sense of calm and peace.
    • The hormonal effects of gentle exercise – particularly when combined with meditative mental exercises – can help alleviate stress and anxiety without medication.
    • Physical activity releases feel-good hormones, so regular exercise is essential to keeping a steady dose of these chemicals providing antianxiety effects in the brain.
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    Use aromatherapy. Certain scents, such as bergamot and sandalwood, can ease mental tension and reduce anxiety. Consider purchasing essential oils of a few calming fragrances and using them with lotion, in a bath, or in an oil burner to create a relaxing atmosphere and prevent anxiety.
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    Ask about acupuncture or massage therapy. Aromatherapy is often used as an alternative treatment option for anxiety and pain.
    • Some allopathic health practitioners do not recommend acupuncture in certain areas of the body for pregnant women, but the technique is typically safe and can be quite effective for anxiety.
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    Eat specific foods to reduce anxiety. Certain foods contain nutrients that can prompt the release of calming hormones or promote a sense of calm and improve sleep. Eggs, fatty fish, nuts, bananas, turkey, spinach, dark chocolate, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products can help you manage stress and anxiety.


  • Be aware that many factors contribute to a healthy baby, and that many over-the-counter medications are not recommended for use during pregnancy, as well as drug abuse, consumption of alcohol, and smoking. That being said, it is more dangerous to your baby to live with unmanageable anxiety or depression than to get help. A midwife or doctor can help you weigh the possible costs with the benefits of treatment.
  • If you are experiencing clinical anxiety or if you received a diagnosis prior to getting pregnant, it is essential to meet with a health professional to discuss your treatment options during pregnancy. Current research is lacking for many specific medications to treat anxiety during pregnancy, and no pharmaceutical antianxiety medication is 100% safe during pregnancy. Some antianxiety drugs are much safer than others, however, and are much more likely to be prescribed for use during pregnancy.
  • Many natural approaches to treating anxiety can be very helpful and safe for pregnant women and the fetus. Although you should still consult a health professional before attempting to treat anxiety with natural methods, many alternative therapies can offer women freedom from medication and improvements in mood, energy levels, and physical and emotional wellbeing. Avoid herbal or supplement pills and teas for anxiety unless a health professional has approved them for use during pregnancy, as some herbs and natural pills can cause birth defects and even miscarriage.


  • Never assume that natural or homeopathic remedies carry fewer risks than modern prescriptions. Always consult your physician about taking any new medications or embarking on any new treatment plans. Just because something occurs in nature doesn't make it safe.
  • Do not attempt to self-medicate or manage anxiety without assistance and guidance from a health professional during pregnancy.

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Categories: Taking Pills and Medicine