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Many healthcare providers suggest that Valium should never be taken during pregnancy. This is because Valium has shown clear evidence of risk to the fetus in previous studies -- and because taking Valium is rarely absolutely necessary. Despite this risk, however, a healthcare provider may still prescribe Valium to a pregnant woman if he or she believes that its benefits outweigh the possible risks to the unborn child.

An Overview of Valium and Pregnancy

Valium® (diazepam) is generally considered unsafe for use during pregnancy. In animal studies (and a few human studies) that looked at the effects of Valium during pregnancy, the drug caused birth defects.

Valium and Pregnancy Category D

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a pregnancy category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category D is given to medicines that have shown clear evidence of risk to the fetus in studies. Pregnancy Category D is a stronger warning than a pregnancy Category C classification. A pregnancy Category D medicine may still be given to a pregnant woman if the healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the woman outweigh the possible risks to the unborn child.
Valium was given a pregnancy Category D rating because of problems in animal and human studies. These studies suggested that Valium may increase the risk of various birth defects and may cause other problems, such as withdrawal symptoms after an infant is born. However, this is a controversial issue, since some studies have shown that the risk of birth defects may be very small.
Since taking Valium is rarely absolutely necessary, many healthcare providers suggest that it should always be avoided during pregnancy.
If you are taking Valium and pregnancy occurs (or you are thinking of becoming pregnant), let your healthcare provider know. He or she will consider the benefits and risks of using the medication during pregnancy before making a recommendation for your particular situation.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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