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Adderall And Pregnancy: Effects Of Adderall Abuse On Pregnancy

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

April 2, 2019

Abusing Adderall while pregnant can come with a number of potentially dangerous side effects for both the mother and fetus. Getting help for Adderall addiction is the best course of action for someone struggling with addiction before and during pregnancy.

Being pregnant often comes with a complete list of things to avoid. This can include prescription medications, even if they are taken for true medical conditions. Many medications can be potentially harmful to the mother and fetus. One of these medications is Adderall.

Adderall is a prescription central nervous stimulant used in the treatment of ADHD and sleep disorders like narcolepsy. This drug is made up of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, both of which affect the body and brain.

Adderall is typically effective when used for ADHD and can increase concentration, energy, and the ability to focus. While effective when taken as prescribed, Adderall is a substance that is also commonly abused.

As with many stimulants, this drug can produce feelings of euphoria and invincibility when taken in large doses. People abuse Adderall for many reasons, including the high it can provide. People may also use it as a study drug or to promote weight loss.

Even when used as prescribed, Adderall can have side effects that can range from uncomfortable to dangerous. The chances of experiencing side effects increases greatly when the drug is abused.

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Can You Take Adderall While Pregnant?

Adderall is classified as a category C drug by the FDA. This means that there is the potential for harmful side effects when taken while pregnant. As a result, Adderall is considered not safe to take while pregnant.

There are a number of reasons why someone should avoid Adderall while pregnant. One of these reasons is the side effects that Adderall can have on the expectant mother. Adderall can also be harmful to the growing fetus in a number of ways.

Additionally, breastfeeding mothers should avoid taking Adderall. This is because the drug can pass through the breastmilk to the child. Babies who are exposed to Adderall can have a number of adverse side effects, including decreased appetite and trouble sleeping.

If you are currently prescribed Adderall and become pregnant or are pregnant, it’s important to speak with your doctor about this medication. He or she may be able to recommend other ways to manage your ADHD symptoms.

Effects Of Adderall During Pregnancy

Adderall can negatively impact a pregnancy in a number of ways. This drug can affect both the mother and the unborn child.

Potential effects of Adderall on the mother include:

  • high blood pressure
  • decreased appetite
  • poor nutrition
  • cardiac problems
  • poor blood flow and circulation
  • worsened mental health conditions such as depression
  • insomnia
  • increased heart rate

All of these side effects can negatively impact a pregnancy. For example, decreased appetite can lead to poor nutrition, which can result in worsened pregnancy symptoms and potential harm to the baby.

Women with pre-existing mental health conditions such as depression or bipolar may experience worsened symptoms when on Adderall. This can cause them to do things that may be harmful to the baby that they otherwise wouldn’t do.

Potential effects of Adderall on the fetus include:

  • premature birth
  • low birth rate
  • birth defects
  • restricted blood flow to the fetus
  • withdrawal symptoms when born

What If I Took Adderall Before I Found Out I Was Pregnant?

Taking Adderall while pregnant — even if it is before someone knows she is pregnant — can be risky. However, if taken as prescribed, the chances of harm to the fetus are minimal. Available evidence for taking amphetamine in therapeutic doses show no increased risk to the fetus aside from a potentially slightly lower birth weight.

However, if someone is addicted to Adderall and has been abusing it while pregnant, it’s important for that person to seek help immediately. As with many drugs, abusing Adderall can put both the mother and fetus at risk for a number of adverse effects.

Getting Help For An Adderall Addiction While Pregnant

If you or a loved one is pregnant and struggling with an addiction to Adderall, seeking help is the best course of action for both mother and baby. Depending on the severity of the addiction, a formal treatment program may be recommended.

Someone who is pregnant and physically dependent on Adderall will likely need to complete a medically monitored detox program. This provides a safe way to withdraw from the drug under the care and supervision of trained medical professionals. A detox program can help to prevent any potential negative side effects of withdrawal on the pregnancy.

Once a detox program is successfully completed, many pregnant women who are addicted to Adderall will be recommended to attend an inpatient program. Inpatient programs provide intensive treatment that will help the person overcome addiction and learn how to live without Adderall.

To learn more about the effects of Adderall abuse on pregnancy and the treatment options available, contact our treatment specialists today.

Canadian Family Physician - Exposure to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medications during pregnancy

MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health - Clinical Update 2010: Use of Stimulant Medications in Pregnancy

Parents - Adderall and Pregnancy

Mother How - Adderall and Pregnancy: Harmful Effect on the Baby

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