This article on Epainassist.com has been reviewed by a medical professional, as well as checked for facts, to assure the readers the best possible accuracy.

We follow a strict editorial policy and we have a zero-tolerance policy regarding any level of plagiarism. Our articles are resourced from reputable online pages. This article may contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.

The feedback link “Was this Article Helpful” on this page can be used to report content that is not accurate, up-to-date or questionable in any manner.

This article does not provide medical advice.


Narcolepsy and Pregnancy

Planning a family is an important part of the life of every individual and each one takes all the required cautions for it. For those with narcolepsy, it is even more important. There are a few important things to consider especially when planning to take medications before, during, and after pregnancy.

There are certain medicines in narcolepsy that can increase the risk of congenital abnormalities.(1) Also, the symptoms of narcolepsy may intensify during pregnancy. Most females may experience fatigue due to changes in hormone levels making the narcolepsy symptoms more difficult to manage.(2)

Narcolepsy and Pregnancy

Females with narcolepsy can also have normal pregnancies.

How Does Narcolepsy Affect Pregnancy?

Research suggests that narcolepsy itself does not negatively affect pregnancy. A study was done in 2013 on 249 pregnant females. Similar rates of pregnancy complications were observed in those with narcolepsy and the general population.(3)

There are other ways in which narcolepsy can affect pregnant females, such as those with catalepsy may be at risk of fall injuries.

Additionally, studies report that 94.2% of pregnant females experience intense fatigue that may affect daily functioning.(2) People with narcolepsy may have more intense symptoms that may affect daily functioning. This makes regular monitoring important.

How Does Pregnancy Affect Narcolepsy?

There has not been much research been done on how pregnancy affects narcolepsy. The main factor can be stopping narcolepsy medications, which could worsen the symptoms.

A study was done in 2019 on pregnant people with narcolepsy. 78.7% had stopped taking medications and to manage the consequences:(4)

  • 72.1% slept more
  • 32.6% stopped working
  • 27.9% stopped driving

Is it Safe to Take Narcolepsy Medications During Pregnancy?

The medications that are commonly given in narcolepsy increase the risk of congenital abnormalities, and it is maximum during the 1st trimester. It is therefore advised to stop taking these medications before trying to get pregnant.

A study found people who took modafinil and armodafinil during pregnancy had a 13% higher risk of congenital abnormalities.(5) Some of these abnormalities may require pregnancy intervention and a change in delivery plans for the safety of the child.

The common congenital anomalies are:

  • Congenital torticollis, in which a short or tight neck muscle causes the neck to tilt
  • Hypospadias, in which the opening of the urethra is not located at the tip of the penis in the males
  • Congenital heart anomalies

Not all the medicine for narcolepsy are considered unsafe to be consumed during pregnancy. It is therefore important to discuss with the doctor before planning to get pregnant.

Risk of Gestational Diabetes and Narcolepsy

In a study, it was found that people who had narcolepsy with catalepsy had higher rates of gestational diabetes.(6) However, the study involved just a small number of people.

Gestational diabetes may increase the risk of having a large baby that may further increase the risk of:(7)

  • Need for cesarean section
  • Low blood sugar in the fetus
  • Respiratory distress in the fetus

Managing blood sugar with diet and lifestyle changes can be helpful in reducing the risk of complications.

Narcolepsy and Child Birth

Childbirth in people with narcolepsy is similar to others. It is just that, catalepsy can occur during and after birth, which can be managed with medical care and support.

According to research, most people with narcolepsy may choose to have a cesarean section that is more controlled.(8) This allows scheduling birth and helps in relieving fear about what would happen if catalepsy occurs during labor.

It is important to discuss the options of delivery with the doctor for better outcomes and to avoid complications.

Management of New Parents with Narcolepsy

Newborns sleep and wake at different times. This makes the schedule of the new parents very hectic. This can be more challenging for those with narcolepsy.

It is important to ensure that both parents and child receive their needs properly. This can be achieved by:

  • Dividing child care tasks equally between parents
  • Hiring help to take care of the child
  • Talking to a breastfeeding expert about safe breastfeeding with narcolepsy
  • Taking naps while the baby is sleeping can help relieve stress
  • Enquiring when to start with the narcolepsy medication again

People with narcolepsy can have a healthy pregnancy and childbirth. As the risk of complications is higher, speaking with the doctor about the medications and lifestyle changes can be helpful in achieving it.

Also Read:

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 3, 2022

Recent Posts

Related Posts