UH doctor concerned about effects of ADHD meds on unborn babies

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The Centers for Disease Control reports that more women of childbearing age are taking Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder medications than ever before, and many pregnancies are unplanned.

Dr. Max Wiznitzer is a Pediatric Neurologist for University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital. Wiznitzer is also an ADHD expert who says he is concerned about that period of time when a woman doesn't yet know she is pregnant and is taking ADHD medications.

"There is some research that suggests that there is the potential or risk for certain kinds of congenital malformations from birth defects that occur in the fetus due to exposure to these medications," said Wiznitzer.

Women who are pregnant or could become pregnant and are taking ADHD medications need to talk to their doctor.

"To say, 'What should we do? Do we continue it, not continue it? What other support systems can be available to me to manage my ADHD during pregnancy, if I chose not to be on medication.' In other words, they need to be informed consumers," added Wiznitzer.

Experts say, the bottom line is you need to weigh the benefits versus the risks of taking a medication during pregnancy.

Katelyn Benda, of Lakewood, is pregnant with her first child - a baby boy. She decided to go off of her ADHD medication for the duration of her pregnancy and while she is breastfeeding.

"I didn't want it to affect the baby in any way, whatsoever," said Benda.

Once she is no longer breastfeeding, Benda plans to go back on her ADHD medication.

"I do need it. It's hard to be myself without it," added Benda.

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