Ambien (zolpidem) is a hypnotic drug most commonly prescribed to those suffering from insomnia. It is one of the most effective drugs currently available for treating insomnia and has been used within the medical community for this purpose for many years. Unfortunately, in addition to providing relief for those experiencing insomnia Ambien also can have severe and unpleasant side effects, ranging from an upset stomach to vomiting and hallucinating. With this in mind many women who are pregnant wonder if Ambien is safe to take during pregnancy.
Ambien and crossing the placenta
According to research and the FDA Ambien does not cross the placenta barrier. Therefore there is no specific recommendation against taking Ambien while pregnant. Due to there being no verifiable conclusive risk Ambien is categorized as a class C drug making it safe for consumption during pregnancy. Most doctors will not be against taking Ambien during pregnancy as well as there are no links between Ambien and serious birth complications at this point in time.
If taking Ambien while pregnant it is important however to minimize any amount of risk that may be present to you or you fetus. One way to do this is to take the lowest possible dose of Ambien possible. This will help to mitigate any possible unknown side effects that may happen due to taking Ambien while pregnant. It is also imperative to never mix alcohol or other substances with Ambien while pregnant. Alcohol should already be avoided while pregnant due to the complications it can cause. Mixing Ambien with alcohol while pregnant will most likely only further increase the bad effects alcohol can have on a fetus.
Controversial studies on Ambien and pregnancy
Though it is the general consensus within the medical community that Ambien has no harmful effects on the fetus when taken while pregnant, there have been a few controversial studies that indicate otherwise. Some of these studies have found that women who take Ambien while pregnant are more disposed to give birth to their baby prematurely or for their baby to have a below average birth weight. The controversy around these studies stems from the fact that there is no way to separate the taking of Ambien away from a variety of other factors which may be effecting birth weight. With this in mind however it is recommended that those pregnant should only take Ambien if the rewards from taking Ambien outweigh the risk. For many who are pregnant not being able to sleep will have much more of a measurable ill effect on the fetus compared to the weak evidence which suggests Ambien may effect birth weight and prematureness of the baby.
The bottom line
When looking at the facts as a whole taking Ambien while pregnant may pose a small risk, but in general it is nothing to worry about. As with all prescription medication it should not be taken unless absolutely necessary. Many women though experience severe insomnia during pregnancy and using Ambien in this case will do more to help the fetus than possibly hurt it.