Paxil During Pregnancy

Updated on August 09, 2010
K.F. asks from Minneapolis, MN
9 answers

Hello, I'm 30 yrs old and have tried a couple of times to wean myself off Paxil and each time I relapse about a month after the last pill. I've tried other ant-depressants/anti-anxiety drugs, but get horrible side effects and they don't work like Paxil does for me. I want to have a baby someday, but worry that I won't be able to since Paxil is Category D and should not be taken while pregnant. Does anyone out there have a success story of taking Paxil while pregnant? Could I even just take the lowest does of 5mg while pregnant? I know that lowest dose still worked for me when I was "weaning" myself off of it.
Any advice, info, success stories will be greatly appreciated. I'm not keen on adopting yet instead...still need to talk to my hubby seriously about that. We don't want to wait too long to start a family though- even though we are not ready yet...maybe in 2 or 3 years tops.

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So What Happened?

I'm working with a naturalpathis/osteopathic doctor who is also an MD. An ex-coworker recommended him b/c she had a similar issue of being on anti-anxiety meds for about 10 years and he helped her wean off the meds after going on a cleansing diet. I found out that I have glulten sensitivity and it's possible that the gluten sensitivity and other gut issues are contributing to the lack of serotonin/ or imbalance of hormones in my body. As of now, I've been gluten free for about 6 months, did a candida-cleanse diet (had a yeast overgrowth also in my gut) and am taking other supplements to heal my digestive system. The doc explained that there is a direct connection with your gut and your if I heal my gut, we are hoping that it will be easier to lower my med and/or maybe take something else if need-be, but I'm hoping to be drug free so have a baby before it's too late (my mom completed menopause by age 41 and I'm already 32, so time is ticking). I'll update more later...

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answers from New York on

My friend was in a similar situation- she took anti-depressant/anti-anxiety drugs and deferred having a kid until she felt like she could come off her medication. Well, she ended up taking it up until she became pregnant, then she came off and went for more counseling. Right after giving birth, she didn't breastfeed and went straight back to her medication. That's what worked for her.

I hope this helps!

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answers from Seattle on

You need to talk to your doctor. Of all SSRI's Paxil is one of the worst choices for women who intend to become pregnant.
Taking it during the first trimester can cause serious birth defects in the embryo. Taking it throughout your pregnancy can cause serious withdrawal symptoms in the newborn.
There are new animal models out there that indicate that taking a drug like Paxil during pregnancy might even effect the offspring into teen/adulthood.
There are medications that are safer to take during pregnancy.

You don't mention your condition, but the fact that you have tried to self wean/switch medications several times unsuccessfully SCREAMS addiction in addition to whatever the underlying illness is (assuming depression?).
You need to talk to your psychiatrist (and maybe get a second opinion) about what you options are. Since you say that you have some time... that is great! You can start working on it now and hopefully 3 years down the road you will be drug free, or at least on a medication that is less likely to harm your unborn child.
Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Lincoln on

I took Zoloft during my first pregnancy and Effexor during my second and had no problems. I just took the lowest effective dose. I feel my extreme level of anxiety would've been worse for the baby than being on the medications. I don't know about Paxil and pregnancy, but it's something I would definately talk to the doctor about.



answers from Minneapolis on

Hey there! I take Lexapro for depression and became pregnant while on it. I was about seven weeks into the pregnancy before I realized I was expecting. I stayed on it until about 10-11 weeks, asking a lot of questions, researching, etc. And, then my morning sickness kicked in like mad. I felt sick about 85% of all my waking moments! A friend mentioned that perhaps all my pregnancy hormones and the meds were "duking it out" in my system, so I quit taking the meds. It was an intuitive thing, and within less than 48 hours, I stopped having morning sickness, period. The rest of my pregnancy, I joked about feeling a pregnancy "high." I only had maybe three really symptomatic days. I didn't resume the Lexapro until I stopped breastfeeding (my daughter was 16 weeks when I quit - it never stopped being reeeaally painful for me, arg!) I did begin noticing more symptoms again only a couple months after the birth, even while I was nursing. I agree with the other posters who've said to research and inform yourself as best you can, find practitioners that you feel confident of, and don't assume that you can't sustain a healthful pregnancy b/c you're on meds. You know you can't do Paxil, but you can and will uncover an alternative(s) that will support you in having a baby. Good luck!


answers from Lincoln on

I would start talking to your dr now. With my first I had depression so bad i was suicidal, I went on Prozac because Zoloft always made me lose too much weight. I had a high risk pregnancy, delivered at 29 weeks and was told to stay on the antidepressant because i would be on an andreline high and would come off and crash. i didn't listen and it wasn't pretty. I was told then that if i would ever be pregnant again they would want me on something during and after because i was at a high risk for both prenatal depression and postpartum depression and that sometimes it is safer for the mother to be on something. So I ended up having another baby 10 years later, with a whole bunch of other problems and this time they tried Lexapro and ended up switching to Celexa for insurance reasons. ...Breastfed for a year the first time and on 11 months now and both healthy! Please talk to your dr - it can be done safely!



answers from Omaha on

I took paxil while pregnant with my daughter. I actually didn't even know I was pregnant in the first place till 16 weeks along in my defense. When she was born she wouldn't breathe. They rushed her to the NICU where she stayed. They decided it was the Paxil and shortly after that it went from a C to a D. They then knew it caused issues in the first and third trimesters.

So I'd wean and go with the Zoloft that is shown to be the best of them so far during pregnancy.

I'm currently on 2 category d drugs and considering my past experience wouldn't dream about getting pregnant till weaned. I couldn't go through that again. She only was in the NICU for 4 days but that was sheer terror as you'd pry guess. The side effects of that Med and pregnancy rarely I'd guess outweigh the benefits. So I'd try and switch to Zoloft and if you can't I'd talk to my OB before I did. They've said time and time again that Paxil and Prozac are the worst to be on while pregnant.



answers from Denver on

I have depression, and have had it for years. I was on Welbutrin and Zoloft throughout my pregnancy, and then while I breast fed. My psychiatrist explained to me that the minute amount of drug that my boy received would do no harm, and NOT taking the medications would be worse for the baby both in the pregnancy and after. There is a lot of research to show that medications for anxiety and depression taken during pregnancy and breastfeeding do not harm the child. Please speak with a psychiatrist, not a family doc, or OB/GYN, or internist before making a decision about how to proceed with treating your anxiety/depression and getting pregnant. You'll be glad you did.
One other thing, think of it in terms of having a illness, NOT as a "mental disorder". If you had heart disease and took medication for that you wouldn't think twice about not treating your disease while pregnant. Please look at your emotional well-being with the same approach.

My best to you.


answers from Minneapolis on

Hi K.
I would work with your doctor on this. I am very aware of anti depressants since depression runs in my family. Have you ever considered or tried natural ways of controlling your depression? Also, 2 of my sisters had a natural highs when being pregnant. I believe it is all in the bodies chemical balance. If you want to learn how you may be able to use something natural, let me know.



answers from Grand Rapids on

I took paxil with my first pregnancy. I had tried to get off the Paxil before and had horrible withdrawl side effects. Since there was no know effects from with Paxil at that time my doctor reccomended I keep taking it just in the lowest dose. Everything turned out just fine. My daughter is a happy and healthy four year old. A couple years later when I knew we were going to start trying for a second child I was determinted to be totally off the paxil first because studies had started showing that paxil could be harmful to a pregnancy. It took me three to four months to wean myself off the paxil by slowly switching to wellbutrin. Then it took me a month to wean off the wellbutrin. I found out I was pregnant with our son a couple months later. I know it's so hard dealing with depression and anxiety. Unfortunatly it can get worse with pregnancy. I would talk to your doctor about everything and then make a decision. I wish you luck with everything. :)

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