Posted by Claudia Grazioso on August 25, 2011
When I’m running around, forgetting to do things and half-finishing a dozen other things, starting books and not finishing them, downloading recipes but then losing them and always, always forgetting the new foolproof, completely obvious place where I’ve decided to store my keys and cell phone, I will joke to my friends that parenthood is like being severely ADD. If I can make it to the park and back without losing a sock or a shoe, or forgetting a lunchbox or favorite sand toy, then I feel I’m ahead of the game. (And I’m talking about MY shoes, much less the children’s.)
Of course, real Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are not funny. They can be debilitating conditions that negatively impact your life. Many people who suffer from these conditions quite reasonably choose to go on medication that will help them focus better. One commonly-prescribed drug for ADD and ADHD is Adderall.
Women who are ADD, ADHD or suffer from narcolepsy, for which Adderall is also frequently prescribed, should be aware that it is classified as a Category C drug by the Food and Drug Administration. This is the same classification given to a lot of commonly-prescribed antidepressants that are now being linked more and more to several birth defects.
Adderall, also known as amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, works on the central nervous system in people who suffer from ADD and ADHD. As a Category C drug, it has been shown to have an adverse effect on fetuses in animal studies. The problems cited include low birth weights, birth defects, miscarriages and abnormalities in brain chemicals that lead to long-term learning and memory difficulties. Additionally, studies have shown there is a risk of a baby suffering withdrawal symptoms that include weakness, dysphoria and agitation. Finally, doctors have noted that Adderall passes into breast milk, and advise women who are taking it not to breastfeed their infants.
ADD and ADHD can be challenging and stressful to live with. And stress isn’t good during a pregnancy, either. If you are pregnant and taking medication for either of these conditions, talk with your doctor or medical care provider about whether the benefit to you outweighs the risk to your child.