Posted by Barbara Ransom on April 13, 2011
So you’ve finally seen the little plus sign show up on your home pregnancy test and you’ve calculated that you are 4 to 6 weeks along. Congratulations! But now that you’re joining the mom-to-be club, start reading the list of “don’ts.” Newly-pregnant moms are faced with plentiful items to avoid from soft cheeses to sushi, from herbs (like parsley) to artificial sweeteners. While some items have been thoroughly researched, others are merely suspect, but the most vigilant of us cut out anything and everything suspicious.
You should especially take a good look at any over-the-counter or prescription drugs you are taking. If Effexor is on the list of prescriptions your rely on, take a serious look and consult your physician. While you may have relied on this drug for several years for a depressive or panic disorder, or for anxiety, it may be best to discontinue use while pregnant.
Babies exposed to Effexor, or other SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), while in utero have been reported to need “prolonged hospitalization, respiratory support, and feeding tubes.” Among a long list of adverse effects on the fetus, PPHN (Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn) has also been found to occur. This is the when the newborn’s lungs are constricted, limiting oxygen to the bloodstream. Effexor is a Category C drug, meaning studies on animals have been used to confirm the connection between the drug and the developing fetus. Studies suggest that newborns exposed to Effexor should be closely monitored for at least 48 hours after birth.
Let’s face it: Cutting out your favorite foods can be tricky, but cutting out medications you rely on is even harder — especially when depression, anxiety or panic is involved. But because studies have found the above Effexor birth defects could occur when the fetus is exposed in late pregnancy, tapering may be a good way to wean yourself. Your physician may have a plan to advise you on how to taper rapidly, leaving you with less time away from your medication. Finally, Effexor has been found in breast milk, so it should be avoided if you plan to breastfeed. Remember, gestation is brief, and the advantages you give your baby will last a lifetime. Make sure you surround yourself with supportive friends and family.