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Is Citalopram Safe During Pregnancy?

4 min read

The news of pregnancy is a bundle of joy and as well as a package of complications. Many pregnant women suffer from anxiety and depression during their nine months journey. It is here, the doctor prescribes Citalopram, which is of great help to ease the discomfort of pregnant women. But, how safe is the usage of Citalopram, which is also famous by the name “happy pills” during pregnancy? This blog will clear all your doubts.

medicine during pregnancy

What Is Citalopram (Celexa)?

Citalopram is the most commonly used anti-depressant, which is normally used to treat depression. It is an SSRI drug. Depending on the severity of the issue, for the sake of quick relief, sometimes this drug is injected. Celexa (a common brand name of citalopram) is prescribed all over the world.  It is evaluated as one of the top three antidepressants prescribed worldwide.

Dosage Of Citalopram during pregnancy:

Based on the condition of pregnant women, this is suggested in 20-60mg dosages. More often, it all relies on the health condition of the mother and how far the pregnancy has progressed. However, more often, the doctor limits it below 40 mg for the reason that if the amount surpasses this, the risk of contracting heart problems increases.

Citalopram And Pregnancy:

  • When we go through the scaling of prescription drugs and how safe it is for pregnant women, it is found that Citalopram has a score that shows harmful effects.
  • However, when given in humans, it never came out with any harm. But there are chances for the birth defects and harm for the fetus when experimented on animals.
  • While you have the trouble of depression and are on this medication when you get pregnant, never stop using this without consulting a doctor. The risks of untreated depression during pregnancy more often outweigh the risk of using this drug.
  • If depression is not treated well, then there are increased chances of pregnancy complications like preterm delivery and preeclampsia or miscarriage as well.

Is Citalopram Safe During Pregnancy?

The answer to this question extremely depends on the individual condition of pregnant women. If you calculate the risk that incurs for the baby and the mother because of the depression is much more, then the doctors prescribe them to use this.
Doctors suggest this antidepressant based on various other factors. Few of them include the trimester of the pregnancy. There are a few cases where taking citalopram is a must for the health of the fetus and the mother. In this regard, there is no other way to escape at any instance.

Side Effects Of Citalopram During Pregnancy:

There are certain side effects which pregnant ladies encounter while using this citalopram. In these cases, ensure that you are seeking the assistance of the doctor to get things normal. Few of the side effects include:

  • Sudden changes in the mood.
  • Sometimes, there might be difficulty in breathing, and pregnant women also suffer from sudden panic attacks and anxiety attacks.
  • Rashes on the skin and hives
  • The swelling of the tongue, face, and throat are the other side effects.
  • There are chances for preterm delivery.
  • Low birth weight.
  • There are chances for the reduced size of the skull and facial deformities observed.
  • A few other defects are cardiac problems in the child.
  • Urinary defects and digestive system defects are even observed in these cases.

If I Took Citalopram During My Entire Pregnancy, Will It Cause Withdrawal Symptoms In My Baby?

Taking Citalopram during the third trimester can bring about certain issues that can be counted as withdrawal symptoms. The newborn may develop breathing issues, the problem with sleeping, restlessness, increased muscle tone, tremors, and difficulty feeding. Usually, these symptoms are mild and disappear within a couple of weeks. So far, the long term effect of this drug on the behavior and development of the child is not reported.

Stages Of Damage From Citalopram During Pregnancy:

  • While the pregnant mother is using the citalopram in her first trimester, then there are chances for miscarriage and premature delivery. The risk of facial deformities also increases.
  • There is also a risk of autism for the child when the mother is taking citalopram for at least 12 months earlier to pregnancy.
  • The risks of neural tube defect and spina bifida in the newborn increases defects concern.
  • The risk of delivering a child with craniofacial and cardiac malformations increases

Risks Of Taking Citalopram During Pregnancy:

While the mothers are on the course of Citalopram, the following are the risks which they must cope with:

  • There will be problems with breathing and seizures.
  • Apnea, vomiting, crying constantly, and irritability are commonly observed in the kids.
  • Feeding difficulty, feeling jittery, hypertonia, and tremors are even the other sides of the coin.

Administering Citalopram During Pregnancy:

In spite of being good in the treatment of depression, citalopram is a powerful drug that can adversely affect your health and pregnancy if not administered properly. Therefore,

  • While you are willing to stop the medication at any cost, consult the doctor, and take their advice.
  • Ensure that you are taking medicine at the same time every day.
  • The citalopram can be taken either after or before food without fail.
  • Always remember that it takes a couple of weeks, at least some four weeks to witness the results.


Stop getting shocked, and just don’t conclude that you shouldn’t take citalopram at any cost. Even though there are many side effects, as mentioned above, it usually happens when the dosage went wrong. Therefore, follow the dosage strictly as prescribed by the doctor. The doctors usually never prefer to give antidepressants to pregnant women. It always depends on the severity of the condition and its effects on the health of the pregnant woman. All this helps you to stay prepared and have a smooth and comfortable pregnancy period.

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