Lexapro and Pregnancy

Updated on February 05, 2011
C.T. asks from Minneapolis, MN
14 answers

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...


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answers from Eau Claire on

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.

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answers from Minneapolis on

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


answers from Des Moines on

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. :)


answers from Tampa on

Lexapro is an:

L2 (safe to nurse while taking)

Level C for pregnancy (adverse reactions found in animal testing, no testing done in women. OK to take if benefit outweighs the potential risk to fetus).



answers from Lincoln on

My daughter is almost four and my son is two months old; I was on 10 mg of lexapro during both pregnancies. I started taking it 6 years ago and tried to taper off upon finding out I was pregnant. I started having so much anxiety and was not very nice to my huband. I asked the doctor at my first appointment with my daughter and she said Lexapro is a class C drug, meaning to take it if the benefit outweighs the risk. I did not want to be miserable and anxious my whole pregnancy so I kept taking it. She was born perfectly healthy and nursed for two years. My son was also born perfect and he is nursing as well. I always take the Lexapro right after he nurses so even less will get into his system.
It may be worth noting that it may be difficult to get pregnant if you are stressed and anxious.
Good luck and please message me if you have any questions!!



answers from Lincoln on

I don't know about Lexapro specifically, but I was on Zoloft throughout my first pregnancy and Effexor throughout my second. My children are now 9 and 5 and perfectly healthy. I was also unable to quit taking my medications without the anxiety hitting me hard. I took the lowest effective dose during my pregnancies.


answers from St. Louis on

I was on Lexapro when I found out I was pregnant. I quit cold turkey, my doctor never told me I had to, but we never discussed whether it was safe or not. When he went to ask me about taking the Lexapro, I told him I stopped taking it and we didnt talk further about it. Probably should have though. I was very irritable. I cant say whether it was from quitting or it was just hormones and I was quitting smoking, but it has gotten better. I can be pretty snappy quite often, but I rather be that way then to harm the baby. As far as I know, they have not done enough research on the drug to say if its safe or not and I dont want to take that chance. I have heard of people being on it while pregnant, I read an article in a Pregnancy magazine, and this pregnant lady and her doc decided the benefits of being on it outweighed the risks to the baby. Talk to your doctor about it, get all the facts and go from there. I didnt wean at all, no panick attacks, but like I said very irritable. I also noticed my mood being worse at night, so its interesting you mentioned that. Anyways, good luck!



answers from Milwaukee on

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.



answers from Duluth on

My anxiety kicked into high gear when my second child was 7 months old. I started taking Lexapro, but after six months I found out I was pregnant with my third...so right away my psychologist switched me to Wellbutrin because he said that Wellbutrin and Prozac are the only safe anti-anxiety meds to take during pregnancy and for nursing. So, I would switch to one of those if you can. Good luck!!



answers from Dallas on

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!




answers from Kokomo on

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! :)



answers from Minneapolis on

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.



answers from New York on


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!



answers from Omaha on

I'd suggest trying Buspar.It's specifically for anxiety, an older med so it's pretty well studied and It's a category B and it doesn't get much better than that. I mean category A's are like Tylenol! I know that alot of doctor's will also let you take Effexor during pregnancy and for certain Lexapro during breastfeeding because the transfer rates are beyond small beings the proteins are so large. But if you are trying go talk to your ob.

Most doctor's can tell you what to use. Remember they have usually hundreds of pregnant women a year to take care of and you are FAR from the first that has had anxiety. I'll raise my hand. So I'm sure can hundreds on here.

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