Benefits And Side Effects Of Paxil During Pregnancy

Paxil During Pregnancy

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Along with the joys of becoming a mom and experiencing life grow inside you, there are pitfalls that you may have to sidestep during pregnancy. Sometimes, emotions can get the better of you, and you can suffer from depression or anxiety. In such cases, the right treatment at the right time can be crucial.

But when pregnant, you want to make sure that any medication you consume doesn’t affect you or the fetus. Paxil is one such drug that will make you skeptical. We at MomJunction have put together some important information about Paxil and its safety during pregnancy. So read on and relax.

What Is Paxil?

Paxil, also popular as paroxetine, is a medication that treats social anxiety disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder, and panic attacks while you are expecting. The drug belongs to a class of antidepressants called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRIs (1).

Top 4 Health Benefits Of Paxil During Pregnancy:

1. Treats Anxiety Disorders:

Paxil is a potent drug that reduces negative thoughts, anxiety, depression, irritability, mood swings, and various other anxiety disorders during your pregnancy. The medication helps restore the balance of serotonin, a natural chemical in your brain and provides great relief during pregnancy.

Paroxetine enhances the functioning of neurotransmitters and promotes the synchronization and communication of the nerves in your brain with one another minimizing the restlessness and irritability. The drug sustains an optimistic mental equilibrium (2).

2. Improves Your Sleep, Mood, And Appetite:

Paroxetine improves your mood, energy level, sleep, and appetite while you are expecting. It restores your interest in your routine life and minimizes unwanted thoughts and fears in your mind.

Paxil reduces the urge to perform compulsive actions, such as washing the hands, checking the doors and windows now and then, counting, and other compulsions, that hamper your regular life (3).

3. Cures Chronic Headaches:

Paxil is also an excellent medication that cures chronic headaches during pregnancy (4).

4. Reduces Tingling In The Limbs:

You might suffer from tingling sensation in your hands and feet while expecting due to the effect of gestational diabetes. Having the right dose of Paxil reduces the tingling in your limbs to a great extent and helps you feel better (5).

Side Effects Of Paxil During Pregnancy:

Even though you may benefit from having Paxil while expecting, you should also be aware of potential side-effects of the drug. Here, we list some general adverse effects of paroxetine.

  • Dizziness and weakness
  • Difficulty to concentrate
  • Confusion and forgetfulness
  • Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and gas
  • Constipation
  • Heartburn
  • Excessive sweating
  • Reduces appetite
  • Sensitivity to the light
  • Swellings of the joints
  • Pain in the back, bones, muscles, and other body parts
  • Sore gums and teeth
  • Strange dreams
  • Blurry vision
  • Palpitations
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Appearance of small red spots on your skin or blistering of skin
  • Frequent urination and difficulty to urinate
  • Unsteady walk
  • Symptoms of an infection, such as fever, chills, and cough (6)

5 Potential Side Effects Of Paxil During Pregnancy:

Excess or inappropriate use of Paxil can endanger your pregnancy. Here, we list potential side effects of the Paroxetine on your pregnancy and fetal health.

1. Increased Risk Of Miscarriage:

Having an excess of Paxil during pregnancy can raise the chances of abortion or miscarriage. So, it is advisable to have the prescribed dose (7).

2. Risk Of Birth Defects:

Several medical studies reveal that exposure to Paxil increases a slight risk of heart defects in the unborn baby. Having the drug during the first trimester can increase the chances of a heart defect in the fetus by two percent.

You should observe the newborn closely as many times birth defects are not prominent. Your baby may also suffer from a critical condition of oxygen deficiency in the baby’s blood. Also, doctors recommend pregnant women who have the drug in the first trimester to go for a fetal echocardiogram at 20 weeks of pregnancy (8).

3. Withdrawal Symptoms In The Newborns:

If you are using Paxil at the end of your pregnancy or at the time of delivery, then your newborn may have difficulties for initial few days after the birth. Your infant may experience irritability, tremors, disturbed sleep patterns, jitteriness, difficulty in breathing, and increased muscle tone. Most of the effects are mild, and they eventually subside.

You need to take special care of your infant till all the withdrawal symptoms subside. But not all newborns suffer from withdrawal symptoms (9).

4. Lung Ailments For The Newborn:

Several medical studies reveal that the newborn whose mother uses Paxil in the third trimester of the pregnancy are at an increased risk of pulmonary hypertension, a severe lung ailment at birth. However, there exist only 1% risk of infants developing pulmonary hypertension if your use the drug during trimester of the pregnancy (10).

5. Autism In Babies:

Using the Paxil during pregnancy makes the unborn babies prone to a high risk of autism. Medical researchers reveal that pregnant women who used Paroxetine during the second and third trimester of gestation have a great danger of having babies born with autism (11).

A Word Of Caution:

Always have a word with your physician before you have the drug while expecting. It is advisable not to have Paxil during the initial stage and the last few months of the pregnancy to ensure proper health and safety of the unborn baby.

Should You Stop Having Paxil In Pregnancy If You Use It Regularly Before Expecting?

If you are taking Paxil before pregnancy and if you feel that you should stop using it due to its potential adverse effects, then you need to consult your doctor to discuss the risks of weaning off the medication during pregnancy. That’s because many medical studies reveal that if pregnant women suffering from depression do not treat it, then they are at an increased risk of pre-eclampsia, miscarriage, low birth weight, preterm, and adverse effects on the mother and newborn. Only the physician who knows your medical history can best determine whether you should continue or stop having the drug while expecting.

Did you use Paxil during your pregnancy? How did you benefit from it? Share your unique experience with other expecting moms. Leave a comment below.

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