Pregnant women tend to experience severe insomnia that may be controlled only with strong prescription medications like Ambien. However, many worry about the use of Ambien at this time and if the drug will cause birth defects in the developing fetus. The hormonal changes that the pregnant woman undergoes can prevent falling asleep easily or enjoying restful periods of sleep. Insomnia as such does not harm the baby, but it can leave the pregnant mother feeling extremely uncomfortable and tired. Ambien may be prescribed when no other drugs are strong enough to help overcome the insomnia issues. The safe use of this sleeping pill in pregnant women is discussed below.
What happens if you take Ambien while pregnant?
The FDA has marked Ambien as a pregnancy category C drug, which means that the risk of the drug use cannot be ruled out. Animal studies that there can be side effects in the newborn when the mother takes Ambien during the pregnancy term. However, there is insufficient data regarding human trials and medical researchers are unsure as to how the drug will affect the fetus.
Ambien is typically taken by insomnia patients at the dosage strength of 5mg, which may be increased to 10mg if required. The non-benzodiazepine drug is taken just before going to bed as it works within fifteen minutes and induces sleep quickly. The sleep medication is indicated for short-term use only as it can be habit forming or cause withdrawal symptoms
There are currently no well-defined studies to show that using Ambien while pregnant can affect the fetus. In the animal studies, heavy doses of Ambien in the later stage of pregnancy resulted in the newborn being of decreased weight. Among humans, the drug taken in the later stages of the pregnancy resulted in the newborn having breathing troubles. Also, withdrawal symptoms like weakness are likely to occur.
Ambien during pregnancy – to take or not to take
The safe use of Ambien is possible if the drug is taken under the supervision of the healthcare provider. If you are already on Ambien and then become pregnant, do not stop using the drug right away but consult with the doctor and see what the course of treatment should be. Abrupt discontinuation of Ambien can cause severe withdrawal symptoms or rebound insomnia.
Since insomnia is not uncommon among pregnant women, doctors usually guide on the best possible therapy for this sleep disorder. Natural sleep inducing techniques and other drugs may be tried first. Only in extreme cases where none of these therapies work, Ambien is prescribed during pregnancy. The dosing instruction should be followed and the drug itself should not be used more than a few times a week, but only on an as needed basis.