Between 1998 and 2011, the use of medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) more than doubled among pregnant women.
With more women being treated for ADHD each year, it is important to understand the risks and benefits of taking this medication during pregnancy.
This enables expectant mothers, along with their healthcare providers, to make the best decision when it comes to treatment options.
One of the most common types of medication used to treat ADHD is Adderall. Likewise, it is also used to treat narcolepsy. It is a type of stimulant that features the drugs dextroamphetamine and amphetamine.
Since it has proven effective in improving ADHD symptoms, including impulsive behavior, inattention, and difficulty focusing, it is one of the first-choice medications for treating ADHD.
With this in mind, this article will explore everything you need to know about taking Adderall while pregnant, and whether it is safe or not to do so.
Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
What Is Adderall?
Adderall is composed of both dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. These two components are used to fight ADHD symptoms, including issues with impulse control and difficulty staying still and focused. It can also be used to treat narcolepsy.
The drug itself is categorized as a central nervous system stimulant that works by increasing norepinephrine and dopamine levels in the brain.
These neurotransmitters work together to improve your mood and concentration. It works well in treating those with ADHD since it can help you stay focused and reduce anxiety.
How Does Adderall Work?
If you’re already taking Adderall, you’ll know that it is a drug used to treat those with ADHD – allowing them to stay focused. Although, how does it work exactly?
As previously mentioned, it is a combination of two drugs: dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. These work together to stimulate the nervous system – increase the availability of neurotransmitters – dopamine and norepinephrine – in your brain.
While this can seem somewhat counterintuitive to take a stimulant that makes your mind race a mile a minute, these neurotransmitters help to improve your focus and regulate attention.
Adderall is highly effective in treating ADHD. In 2001, a small study found that those who took the drug experienced a 42% decrease in ADHD symptoms.
That said, regardless of whether or not you’re pregnant, it does come with its drawbacks. Some undesirable symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Rapid heart rate
- Weight loss
- Trouble sleeping
- Numbness or coldness in the extremities
- Risk of addiction
- Potential birth defects
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Premature delivery
Taking Adderall While Pregnant
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Adderall is placed under Pregnancy Category C which indicates unclear evidence of its safety for pregnant women.
Despite research looking at the effects of ADHD medication on animal studies – which found no significant adverse outcomes – the doses taken by humans are linked to neurological issues, including motor function and learning defects.
Adderall is a stimulant drug that works to increase the levels of neurotransmitters – noradrenaline and dopamine – in your brain.
This helps to improve motivation, energy, and focus by correcting any deficiencies in these neurotransmitters when it comes to ADHD.
Besides being used to treat ADHD symptoms, Adderall abuse is a common method for improving professional and academic performance.
Here, noradrenaline stimulates more than the cognitive system does. It helps to increase the contraction of the smooth muscles – these are found in the blood vessels and the body’s organs.
When it comes to blood vessels, an increased contraction translates to reduced blood flow – this includes your baby, too.
Pregnancy complications linked to drug abuse are said to be the main cause of this issue.
Common Side Effects And Pregnancy Risks
Taking Adderall does come with some risks and adverse effects, especially when pregnant. Some side effects include nervousness, anxiety, nausea, headaches, changes in heart rate and blood pressure, and vomiting.
You can also become addicted to the drug and it is said to suppress the appetite. This is why it is sometimes misused as a method to lose weight.
Despite the benefits of Adderall, there are some severe risks associated with the drug, including cardiac arrest, psychosis, stroke, and sometimes even death.
Especially when abused or taken in large doses, Adderall can increase the risk of various cardiac problems and potential birth defects.
Adderall can potentially make some mental health issues worse or increase the risk of developing them, too, including bipolar disorder or depression.
When pregnant, these side effects should be extra emphasized since many of these issues can affect both mother and baby.
For instance, it is important to have a nutritious diet while pregnant. However, prescribed Adderall can change your appetites – preventing expecting mothers to follow a good diet.
Plus, pregnant women are more at risk of increased blood pressure which is only enhanced when taking stimulant medication.
Can Dramamine and Adderall Be Taken Together While Pregnant?
Pregnant women should avoid taking Dramamine without medical advice due to its potential risks. However, it is crucial to consult a healthcare professional about taking dramamine during pregnancy. Adderall is a prescription medication used to treat ADHD and combining it with Dramamine could have harmful effects on both the mother and the baby.
How To Proceed?
If you are able to function without taking Adderall, you should stop taking the drug during pregnancy.
On the other hand, if you can’t, then it’s important to discuss the potential side effects and increased risk with your doctor to see how it could affect your baby to ensure a healthy pregnancy.
Here, you can discuss growth scans to determine fetal weight and general well-being while taking Adderall.
That said, with any Class C drug, it should only be used if the benefits outweigh the potential risks to the fetus.
If you have stopped taking Adderall during pregnancy but are worried about experiencing ADHD symptoms, then you should discuss with your doctor alternatives you can take.
When it comes to taking any medications during pregnancy, you should be extremely careful and understand the potential side effects for both mother and child.
One of the most common ADHD medications used to treat ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is Adderall. That said, when abused or taken in large quantities, it has the potential to negatively affect your unborn child.
Therefore, before taking ADHD medicine – or any other ADHD medication – pregnant women should always consult with their doctor beforehand.
Hopefully, this guide has informed you on everything you need to know about taking Adderall during pregnancy.