Taking medications and having medical procedures done while pregnant can sometimes be a dicey subject. While some medications are known to be safe during pregnancy, others are known to be dangerous to a developing fetus. Many other medications have no conclusive data one way or the other, and the decision to use the medication has to be made on a case-by-case basis, taking both potential risks and potential benefits into consideration.
Lab Testing with Botox
Lab tests using animals have shown that Botox may potentially have a harmful effect on a fetus, causing dangerous results such as low birth weight and interference with bone development. Higher doses in these tests caused miscarriages and fetal malformations. While these results are frightening, it’s important to recognize that the doses given in medical trials are far higher than would be used in an actual procedure. Controlled studies on the effect of a therapeutic dose of Botox on a developing human fetus would be neither ethical nor legal, meaning we have no conclusive data on how Botox would affect a pregnancy.
Cosmetic vs. Medical Use of Botox
Because the potential does exist for birth defects and miscarriages, most OB-GYNs and cosmetic surgeons recommend that Botox done strictly for cosmetic purposes should not be done during pregnancy. If an expectant mother received a Botox treatment shortly before conception or before she realized she was pregnant, doctors advise that she should have no cause for worry, although she may wish to be more carefully monitored. However, no further treatments should be done until after delivery.
The decision is trickier to make when Botox is being used for a medical purpose. Since Botox is used to treat conditions like migraines and multiple sclerosis, which can seriously affect the mother’s quality of life, the mother and her doctor should have a conversation about the risks and benefits of Botox, and make their decision based on that. If safer alternatives are available, a temporary switch might be a good choice. Always tell your doctor if you are pregnant, might be pregnant or wish to become pregnant.
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