14 answers

Lexapro and Pregnancy

Hi All,

Well, I've been on 10mg Lexapro for anxiety for about 3 1/2 years. I tried going off 2 other times but was unsuccessful (anxiety returned and couldn't deal). I just tried to go off it again, starting Dec. 1st I went down to 1/2 a pill a day for about a month, maybe only 3 weeks, then went every other day on 1/2 pill for a week or two, then was sort of skipping two days between.

About a week ago, I started to get panicky at night and have had trouble sleeping ever since. I've been feeling like crying, have been impatient with my 4 year old and am all around feeling mopey. So I decided to slow the weaning and have been taking 1/2 a pill each day for about a week. I'm feeling okay during the day, but it's the night that's troublesome.

Last night I woke up after having just fallen asleep, and proceeded to have a major panic attack. I felt like I couldn't breathe, was crying and shakey....it was awful! And I don't want to go through this again! After discussing it with my husband, we agreed that I should go with what works, and Lexapro was working really well for me.

The problem is, I was trying to get off it so I could get pregnant and I don't want to be on something while pregnant. However, at this point the way I've been feeling, I don't even want another baby b/c I've been feeling so out of whack. Don't want to have sex, just feeling blah and trying to get through the day. But I know I really DO want another child. I was never on an anti-anxiety med until my now 4 year old was 10 months old. That's when the anxiety hit me like a brick wall.

I guess what I'm looking for is reassurance that being on Lexapro during pregnancy is okay, and that other women have experienced similar situations and it's all turned out okay. I know I should talk to my dr., but I also know that she'll just tell me I need to be on the meds. Maybe I really do...


What can I do next?

Featured Answers

When I got pregnant with #3, I was on both Wellbutrin and Lexapro for depression/anxiety. My psychologist felt the benefits outweighed the risks and I stayed on it. He did recommend stopping around the third trimester, but I can't remember the reasoning.

I now have a very bright 4 (almost 5) year old.

More Answers

Say it with me: healthy mom means healthy baby. Talk to your OB. If that person does not have a medication they prefer their pregnant moms to be on, then talk with a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner. I went off meds (also for anxiety) to get pregnant for the 2nd time, and white-knuckled it through to the 7th month, when my OB was *happy* to put me on Wellbutrin - she puts smoking moms on Wellbutrin to help them quit, as the side effects of smoking are a greater risk to mom and baby than the side effects of Wellbutrin. She also prescribed a PRN med that I could take when I needed some extra help - don't remember what that was, but she was again more than happy to prescribe it - NOT because she was pill-happy, but because she was, through experience, so convinced of the negative effects of a mom's poor mental health on the baby and, also through experience, convinced of the minimal side effects of Wellbutrin. It is also an older med, so there is a lot of anecdotal evidence of safety for gestation and lactation - yes, you can breastfeed on meds. I eventually switched to Zoloft after my son was born, and breastfed him for two years.

Point being: there are options for you. Talk to your OB first, and go from there. Also, if you are not in therapy now, consider finding a therapist you want to work with. Even if you stay on meds, you will want to marshall all the support you can while you're pregnant - the hormones alone can send you for a loop! Put lots of support in place for yourself - spouse, family, friends, doctors, therapist, and meds - and then see how you feel about getting pregnant. A good therapist can also help you make some long-term plans to make sure you are able to maintain those support systems to give your body and brain chemistry the support it needs to parent two kids.

A doctor once gave me this metaphor - meds can be like wearing glasses. Sure, you can survive without glasses, but you trip a lot, and bump into things, and it can make it hard to read the street signs. So why not wear glasses, and see the world clearly?

Best of luck to you -

1 mom found this helpful

I cant help you with the meds and pregnancy but I can tell you about panic and anxiety... I started getting panic attacks after my second was born, it was at night that I had them the worst. After many years and lots of visits to a support group the one thing I learned is most people have a re-bound of panic symptoms when first going off anxiety meds. (includes weaning off of them) Some of the time it can make you feel as if they are as bad as when you first got them.
My doctors advise is this.... dont stop if it is working....
I agree with the others here that your mental health is just as important for the baby. :)


I wanted to tell you that I can 100% relate to what you are going through. I have never had a baby but want to get pregnant over the next 1-2 years. I've been taking Lexapro 10 mg for a few years, but have lately started having horrible panic attacks at night. I think the Lexapro stopped working, I became tolerant to it. Anyway, I increased it to 15 mg - that was working great for about a week, but I'm now having anxiety again. I see a psychiatrist in a few days to talk about upping to 20mg, which I know is the next (and possibly highest) dosage.

My fear with doing this is that I am TERRIFIED of ever having to wean off. But I am scared of increasing a medication that I would have to go off of if I get pregnant. I don't know what to do, but I know I can't continue to fear the night and have night-time panic episodes and insomnia. That's no way to love.

I already have 4 stepkids, but really want one of my own. I'm scared that having to be on meds for my anxiety will prevent this. I hope you get some answers and hope I do too!

I was on Effexor another anti-depressant, and Seroquel during my last two pregnancies. I worked with a psychiatrist, a therapist, and my OB to make sure I could stay on it and breastfeed while pregnant. I did with both babies, and both were perfect no health problems at all. Funnily enough my first son, who I was not on anything during his pregnancy was born with some serious health issues. :)

My psychiatrist explained to me that the way depression effects your systems it's more detrimental to the baby, and you, to not be medicated while pregnant. There's so much monitoring and studies being done it's very safe to be on something now.

My OB told me she's had women do chemo while pregnant and have healthy babies, which made me feel better.

Good luck - it's a hard decision, you just need to do what's best for you and your family.

This is taken straight from Web MD. Lexapro is VERY similar to Celexa.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
Citalopram (Celexa)
Risks: Has been associated with a rare but serious newborn lung problem (persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, or PPHN) when taken during the last half of pregnancy; has been associated with septal heart defects; has been associated with a birth defect that affects the brain and skull (anencephaly), a birth defect that affect sutures on the head (craniosynostosis) and a birth defect that affects the abdominal organs (omphalocele)

Recommendation: Consider as an option during pregnancy

Hope this helps and you get what you need so you can enjoy your pregnancy! :)

Hi there. I can't ease your mind about meds and pregnancy, because I haven't experienced that, but I can say I totally know how awful anxiety can be, and how it really affects your lifestyle and happiness.

I had PPD with my first (well anxiety not depression), and I took anti-depressants while breastfeeding for a few months to get through it. It did worry me, but I felt my mental health was the most important thing, and my doctors assured me that the medication was ok for nursing (although of course if you google it there is all sorts of conflicting information). I just trusted them, and my son is a healthy almost 4 year old now!

Good luck!


When I got pregnant with #3, I was on both Wellbutrin and Lexapro for depression/anxiety. My psychologist felt the benefits outweighed the risks and I stayed on it. He did recommend stopping around the third trimester, but I can't remember the reasoning.

I now have a very bright 4 (almost 5) year old.

I'd talk to your OB about it if you're leaning towards staying on it. I was on Prozac for depression and Xanax for anxiety and I quit taking them when I found out I was pregnant. I also quit smoking that day. It was tough in the beginning, but I've been able to manage everything with light therapy (I use the Feel Bright light visor every morning), and high doses of Vitamin D (in the form of cod liver oil) for three years now. And I still don't smoke. I breastfed my daughter for 25 months, and I weaned her when I was pregnant with this baby, so I wanted to avoid going back on the meds. If you do go off of them, you do have to be very careful about monitoring for post partum depression. If it comes up when this baby is born, I'm willing to go back on anti-depressants, but I will be careful in choosing which to use because I'll be nursing. Good luck, Mama.

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