Pregnancy is that time period in life that comes with lots of do’s and don’ts. There are many medications that are advised to be stopped during pregnancy and one of them is Adderall.
Adderall is a drug that is given to those suffering from ADHD to maintain focus. It is also a treatment for narcolepsy (a sleep disorder characterized by excessive sleepiness, sleep paralysis and hallucinations). It stimulates the central nervous system and affects brain neurotransmitters including dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.
As Adderall increases the dopamine levels of the brain and it is used by some people to improve their performance in school and work.
How Does Adderall Work?
Adderall is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Both these drugs increase the availability of neurotransmitters in the brain. This helps improve focus and attention.
It is an effective remedy for those with ADHD. A study found that there was a 42% decrease in symptoms of people taking Adderall.(1)
Side effects of Adderall include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Weight loss
- Trouble sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Cold or numbness in the extremities
- Weight loss
One can also get addicted to Adderall.
Adderall and Pregnancy: Is It Safe To Take Adderall During Pregnancy?
Adderall is an excellent medicine for ADHD condition. Due to the side effects listed above, it can increase the risk of psychosis, heart attack, stroke, and even death. These risks are serious on any person, if pregnant women take it, along with her the health of a child can also be at stake. Adderall is not recommended during pregnancy and also during the breastfeeding period, as it is known to pass in the breast milk.
Adderall can cause undesirable symptoms in the child that include:
- Loss of appetite
- Failure to thrive
In a certain situation where due to disruptive ADHD symptoms the mother is not able to take care of herself and the growing baby, Adderall is prescribed. But it should be used with extreme care, both during pregnancy and otherwise.
Risk of Adderall To The Developing Baby
Mostly the studies to know the effects of Adderall during pregnancy are done on animals. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a few animal studies reveal that the use of Adderall during pregnancy can increase the risk of congenital abnormalities involving limb and digestive tract.(2)
Babies born to mothers taking Adderall during pregnancy are at an increased risk of premature delivery, low birth weight and withdrawal symptoms such as agitation, laziness, dysphoria, and poor feeding and growth.
Though there is one review that showed that this drug was not associated with any adverse outcome in mother and baby.(3)
Alternative Treatments That Can Be Given During Pregnancy For ADHD
Various relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and massage can be considered as an alternative treatment during pregnancy. A study showed that people with ADHD when practiced mindfulness meditation saw improvement in emotional regulation.(4)
Physical activity can also be a low-risk prescription for pregnant women with ADHD. It can better the reaction time and reduce errors on the tests performed.(5)
It is good to consult a doctor to recommend safe exercises that can be done during pregnancy. He can also decide whether staying on Adderall is necessary or not.
Generally, Adderall during pregnancy is not recommended unless really required as it can harm the mother and the unborn baby.
If planning to get pregnant or conceived while taking Adderall, speak with your doctor. He can guide you on how to manage the ADHD symptoms and taper off the medication for the benefit of your and child’s health.
- Effectiveness and Safety of Adderall in Treating ADHD and Narcolepsy
- ADHD Drug Side Effects in Adults