Ativan Abuse And Pregnancy

Using Ativan during pregnancy can put both the mother and unborn child at risk for complications. If you or a loved one is pregnant and struggling with Ativan abuse or addiction, getting help is the best decision you can make.

Ativan, brand name for lorazepam, is a prescription medication used in the treatment of anxiety. It is also used off-label to treat insomnia and epilepsy. Ativan is part of the benzodiazepine class of drugs. Using Ativan while pregnant can put women at risk for complications during both pregnancy and birth.

This substance is typically only prescribed for short-term use. This is due to its high potential for abuse and addiction. People are generally not advised to use Ativan longer than two to four weeks unless told differently by a doctor.

There are many side effects that can come with using Ativan. These side effects are possible even when using the drug as prescribed.

Common side effects of Ativan include:

  • dizziness
  • blurred vision
  • lightheadedness
  • upset stomach
  • fatigue
  • drowsiness
  • muscle weakness
  • coordination problems

The longer a person takes the drug and the more that is taken, the more likely a person is to experience these side effects.

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Women who are prescribed Ativan and become pregnant will need to speak with their doctors about whether they should continue taking this drug. The doctor may prescribe a lower dose of Ativan or suggest a different medication.

Can I Take Ativan While Pregnant?

Women who are prescribed Ativan for mental health conditions may wonder if they can continue to take the drug while pregnant. Continuing to use Ativan while pregnant could put the baby and mother at risk for a number of complications.

One risk of taking Ativan while pregnant is the possibility of birth defects. In fact, the FDA highly recommends that women do not take Ativan while pregnant to avoid dangers to the fetus.

Using Ativan during the first trimester typically poses the greatest risk to the unborn child and mother. However, Ativan can cause complications if used during the third trimester as well.

Taking Ativan while pregnant may cause the following effects on the fetus:

  • low birth weight
  • birth defects
  • withdrawal symptoms when born

The more Ativan that is taken while pregnant, the higher the risk of pregnancy complications.

Effects Of Ativan On The Baby After Birth

Taking Ativan while pregnant can put the unborn child at risk for being born addicted to Ativan. This is especially true for women who take lorazepam during the third trimester. A baby born addicted to this drug will exhibit withdrawal symptoms upon birth.

Effects on babies born addicted to Ativan include:

  • hypotonia (floppy infant syndrome)
  • sedation
  • cyanosis
  • breathing problems
  • irritability
  • sleep disruptions
  • tremors
  • seizures
  • muscle weakness

Symptoms of withdrawal typically dissipate after a few weeks following birth. The more lorazepam a mother takes during pregnancy, the more likely her baby is to be born addicted to the drug.

Ativan Alternatives During Pregnancy

There are many alternatives to taking Ativan while pregnant. If a pregnant woman has been taking Ativan, it’s important to not quit cold turkey, as this can cause withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous to a fetus and the mother.

Depending on the severity of a pregnant woman’s mental condition, her doctor may suggest she take a different and safer medication during pregnancy. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors are one alternative to Ativan during pregnancy.

Additionally, therapies like recreational and cognitive behavioral therapy are alternatives to Ativan during pregnancy. These forms of therapy can provide anxiety relief for more mild conditions.

Ativan Abuse And Addiction During Pregnancy

If you or a loved one is pregnant and struggling with Ativan abuse or addiction, getting help is the best decision that can be made for both mom and baby. Continuing to abuse Ativan throughout pregnancy can have severe consequences.

Treatment will likely include a medically supervised detox program. Because withdrawal during pregnancy can be dangerous, a detox program can ensure the safety and comfort of both the mother and fetus.

Once the detox program is completed successfully, an inpatient treatment program will likely be recommended. Inpatient programs provide customized treatment plans to help pregnant women overcome addiction and live a drug-free, healthy life.

To learn more about Ativan abuse and pregnancy, contact our treatment specialists today.

MotherToBaby - Lorazepam

MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health - Benzodiazepines and Pregnancy

Emedicinehealth - Lorazepam

Harvard Health Publications - Prescribing during pregnancy

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