Is It Safe to Use Diazepam in Pregnancy?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
It's essential that a woman who is pregnant, or planning to be, seek her OB-GYN's guidance on any questions about diazepam or another anti-anxiety medication.
It's essential that a woman who is pregnant, or planning to be, seek her OB-GYN's guidance on any questions about diazepam or another anti-anxiety medication.

Diazepam is a drug used for treating anxiety and seizures, and its use in pregnancy is a matter you may do well to discuss with your doctor. In the meantime, however, it is important to understand that this medication is associated with a number of health risks for an unborn child. Among the problems that have been reported are those that involve newborn breathing as well as issues with a baby's ability to eat after birth. Some studies have also revealed that the risk of birth defects may be heightened when an expectant mother uses diazepam in pregnancy. Its use has been associated with a condition called floppy infant syndrome as well, which is marked by poor muscle tone in infants.

Taking diazepam during pregnancy could be harmful to the unborn child.
Taking diazepam during pregnancy could be harmful to the unborn child.

It can be difficult to say that any medication is 100-percent safe during pregnancy, as there is always the risk that it will have an adverse effect on the developing baby. Some medications, however, are known to represent a potential hazard for unborn children. Diazepam is one such medication. It has been associated with malformations in unborn babies as well as problems with breathing, eating, and muscle tone issues after they are born. For this reason, many doctors will only prescribe this medication for use by women whose clear need for it outweighs the risk to their babies.

No medication is 100 percent safe during pregnancy.
No medication is 100 percent safe during pregnancy.

When it comes to the safety of diazepam in pregnancy, one of the main concerns is the risk of birth defects. This medication is suspected of increasing the rate at which babies are born with malformations. The highest level of risk, however, seems to involve use of this medication in the first and second trimesters of pregnancy, which are critical periods of development for an unborn baby.

Finding an alternative to diazepam can put a woman's mind at ease and keep her safe during pregnancy.
Finding an alternative to diazepam can put a woman's mind at ease and keep her safe during pregnancy.

Diazepam use in late pregnancy is also associated with potential problems for a developing baby, though the risks are a bit different when it is taken in the last trimester. Some reports have revealed that babies whose mothers used this drug during the last trimester of pregnancy prove more likely to suffer breathing problems after birth. Issues related to feeding may develop as well. Additionally, it appears that there is a relationship between using diazepam in pregnancy and the presence of a condition called floppy infant syndrome.

Diazepam use in late pregnancy is associated with potential problems for a developing baby.
Diazepam use in late pregnancy is associated with potential problems for a developing baby.

If an individual has questions about the safety of diazepam in pregnancy, she may benefit from discussing her concerns with her doctor. Her doctor can provide up-to-date information about the safety of this medication and help her decide whether the potential benefits she can expect from taking it outweigh the risks to the baby. Ideally, however, choosing an alternative drug that proves less worrisome may put a woman's mind at ease and keep her baby safe and healthy.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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    • It's essential that a woman who is pregnant, or planning to be, seek her OB-GYN's guidance on any questions about diazepam or another anti-anxiety medication.
      It's essential that a woman who is pregnant, or planning to be, seek her OB-GYN's guidance on any questions about diazepam or another anti-anxiety medication.
    • Taking diazepam during pregnancy could be harmful to the unborn child.
      Taking diazepam during pregnancy could be harmful to the unborn child.
    • No medication is 100 percent safe during pregnancy.
      No medication is 100 percent safe during pregnancy.
    • Finding an alternative to diazepam can put a woman's mind at ease and keep her safe during pregnancy.
      Finding an alternative to diazepam can put a woman's mind at ease and keep her safe during pregnancy.
    • Diazepam use in late pregnancy is associated with potential problems for a developing baby.
      Diazepam use in late pregnancy is associated with potential problems for a developing baby.