How Safe are Anxiety Medications for Pregnant Women?

Anxiety has a way of creeping into our lives. Be it right before giving a major job interview or when your partner is unreachable on the phone, it can show up any time, and you may not always have a simple solution to deal with it. 

While nervousness, worry, and concern – all anxiety symptoms – can be overwhelming in general, they can worsen when you’re pregnant. Reports show that more than 50 percent of women experience increased depression and anxiety symptoms during pregnancy. If anxiety isn’t treated on time, it could lead to preterm delivery and low birth weight. The size of the baby could end up being smaller than usual. 

If you’re pregnant and experience anxiety symptoms that adversely affect your daily life, you need to start looking at options to deal with it effectively. You can get anxiety medications from your pharmacy in Paris Ontario for treatment after discussing your case with a healthcare provider. 

safe anxiety medications

Medications are a way to relieve some of the worry and nervousness, but you may wonder if it’s safe for your unborn child. If you’re curious to find out, we will take a deep dive into anxiety medications that are safe to consume during pregnancy. 

Which Anxiety Medications Are Safe?

Healthcare providers typically prescribe antidepressants to treat anxiety symptoms. Though they are meant to treat depression, they are useful for anxiety as well. There are a few subclasses of antidepressants that are safe during pregnancy to treat anxiety. Let’s take a look at them – 

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

SSRIs are considered effective and safe for anxiety at the time of pregnancy. Studies have shown that birth defects risks while taking SSRIs are low. May take a couple of weeks to show signs of improvement, they are effective when taken regularly. Citalopram (Celexa) and sertraline ( Zoloft) are considered to be the safest SSRIs during pregnancy. Some of the common that call in this category include – 

  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)

When it comes to fluoxetine and paroxetine, there may be a slightly higher risk of birth defects. There is also a chance that the baby may have adaptation syndrome – a condition where the newborn experiences withdrawal symptoms from taken by the mother. 

Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

Another group of antidepressants that are safe during pregnancy would be SNRIs. Though they need to be taken daily, the effects will take weeks to show. Studies have shown that venlafaxine and duloxetine don’t pose a risk of birth defects. In fact, mothers can take duloxetine even when they’re nursing. However, they do pose a risk of developing adaptation syndrome as with SSRIs. 


Though it may not be the first choice for treating anxiety, it is a safe option during pregnancy. Hydroxyzine (Vistaril), an antihistamine medication, has the potential to work quickly and doesn’t require being taken every day to see the effects. 

Which Anxiety Medications Should You Avoid?

Some medications aren’t safe if you’re pregnant. It is typically because their side effects aren’t as tolerable as expected. Let’s take a look at them – 


Benzodiazepines, like alprazolam (Xanax), are a common cure for anxiety. However, they aren’t ideal for pregnant women because of certain safety concerns. Because of this reason, benzodiazepines should be consumed only if the benefits outweigh the risks. 

Some studies have shown that there may be a correlation between taking benzodiazepines during pregnancy and an increased risk of preterm birth. They also have a risk of dependence, which means that newborns could end up relying. As a result, your baby may display withdrawal symptoms after birth. It is essential to talk to your healthcare provider and discuss your concerns. Do not discontinue your medication without their consent. 

Tricyclic Antidepressants 

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), like clomipramine (Anafranil), are another type of antidepressants that are prescribed to manage anxiety symptoms. Early studies have shown that women consuming TCAs experienced higher incidences of birth defects as compared to women who did not take them. However, recent studies show that they pose a lower risk to unborn babies. 

Irrespective of its effects on unborn babies, they are less preferred because they trigger undesirable side effects. Pregnant women are already uncomfortable during the nine months, but TCAs can worsen their condition. Some of the common side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, and constipation. 

What are a Few Alternative Ways to Treat Anxiety During Pregnancy?

You may consider ditching anxiety medications altogether when you’re pregnant to minimize the risk as possible. Fortunately, there are a couple of things you can do to manage your symptoms effectively. 

Therapy is often recommended as part of anxiety treatment. Certain types of therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and traditional talk therapy, can be particularly beneficial in addressing the underlying cause of anxiety and treating it. 

You may also need to make a couple of lifestyle changes to ensure you can stay away from anxiety pills during pregnancy. Let’s take a look at them – 

  • Following a regular exercise or workout regime. 
  • Developing a consistent bedtime routine to ensure you get enough sleep. 
  • Practicing mindfulness with the help of medication and other techniques. 
  • Consuming a healthy and balanced diet every day. 
  • Engaging in activities and hobbies that you enjoy keeping yourself occupied. 

If you eat, exercise, meditate, and sleep well, you will be able to manage your anxiety significantly. However, it may not always work. In that case, it is essential to discuss your options with a licensed physician. 

Wrapping Up 

It is not uncommon to undergo bouts of anxiety during pregnancy. However, you know it is time to seek medication delivery Paris when the symptoms start affecting your daily life. Antidepressants, such as SNRIs and SSRIs, should be your first choice when it comes to managing anxiety. 

At times, you may be prescribed benzodiazepines and TCAs when you’re pregnant. However, you need to have a detailed conversation with your healthcare provider to learn about the side effects and risks in order to make an informed decision.