Adderall And Pregnancy: Is It Safe?

dderall is a prescription stimulant used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Taking Adderall during pregnancy or while breastfeeding can have negative effects on both the mother and baby.

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Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on November 9, 2022

Adderall, a prescription stimulant used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy, has been shown to be extremely beneficial for many people in a variety of circumstances.

However, most healthcare providers state that Adderall is not safe for use during pregnancy or while a woman is trying to conceive.

In some cases, pregnant women with severe ADHD symptoms may be instructed to stay on Adderall during pregnancy, but only when the benefits outweigh the potential risks.

Adderall is the brand name for dextroamphetamine-amphetamine. Other popular ADHD medications include Ritalin and Vyvanse.

If a woman is abusing Adderall, this can lead to a number of side effects and risks during pregnancy.

What Happens When You Abuse Adderall During Pregnancy?

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists Adderall as a pregnancy category C drug, meaning that it is not categorized as safe and can cause potential side effects.

However, Adderall and other ADHD medications may be necessary for some women during pregnancy.

Any woman who is pregnant and taking Adderall should be aware of the risks and seek the medical advice of her physician as to whether she can safely continue.

Effects Of Adderall On The Mother

Adderall and other ADHD meds work by stimulating the central nervous system, raising alertness and energy. When these drugs are abused, it can result in hyperactivity.

Expectant mothers are generally under guidance to rest and take good care of themselves, and hyperactivity or impulsivity can instead lead to dangerous behaviors for them.

Adderall also increases a person’s heart rate and blood pressure, two characteristics that are already naturally elevated during pregnancy, potentially leading to dangerous health conditions.

The use of Adderall can be especially dangerous to a woman who has become addicted during pregnancy. She may find herself unable to stop taking it, despite being aware of the risks.

Effects Of Adderall On The Fetus

The use of ADHD medications during pregnancy can also affect the development and health of the baby, by reducing blood flow to the fetus and potentially causing malformations.

ADHD medication use during pregnancy can also lead to physical dependency in the baby after birth, a condition known as neonatal abstinence syndrome.

Potential Risks Of Adderall Abuse During Pregnancy

While stimulant medications are not safe for a woman to take at any point during her pregnancy, they can be particularly dangerous when taken in early pregnancy during the first trimester.

Risks to the fetus of taking Adderall while pregnant can include:

  • birth defects including gastroschisis, omphalocele, and transverse limb deficiency
  • low birth weight
  • premature birth
  • inattention

Babies that are born prematurely or with low birth weights often face other developmental delays and are more likely to experience other potential health problems in their early lives.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risks of birth defects and other conditions are low and more research is needed on the use of Adderall in pregnancy.

Withdrawal Symptoms Of Adderall Addiction

Withdrawal symptoms from Adderall abuse during pregnancy can be experienced by both the mother and the baby after birth.

An infant going through Adderall withdrawal may be particularly fussy, restless, and experience difficulty with eating and sleeping.

Adderall withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • sleep disturbances or insomnia
  • fatigue
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • anger and irritability
  • cravings
  • headaches
  • nausea
  • vivid dreams and nightmares
  • foggy thinking and inability to focus or concentrate

Dangers Of Abusing Adderall While Breastfeeding

Because Adderall passes through breast milk from mother to baby, it is not considered safe for a woman to breastfeed during Adderall use.

Taking Adderall while breastfeeding in the postpartum period can affect the baby in a number of negative ways, resulting in restlessness, a lack of appetite, and sleep disturbances.

These negative effects on the baby can result in an overall “failure to thrive”, meaning the baby is undernourished and not gaining weight or growing in an adequate manner.

Treatment Services For Adderall Addiction

Treatment options for Adderall abuse and addiction will vary, but can include medically monitored detox, individual and group therapy, and relapse prevention support.

With a medication like Adderall, it is always best to taper off slowly and under the guidance of a physician in order to achieve long-term results and sobriety.

Find Substance Use Disorder Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

It is never too early or too late to start on your recovery journey, and we are always here to help at Bedrock Recovery Center.

No matter your situation or circumstances, our drug abuse treatment specialists can answer any questions that you have and help you get started as soon as you are ready.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  2. National Library of Medicine:
  3. United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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