Young pregnant black woman looks at medication bottle and wonders, 'Can you take Wellbutrin while pregnant?"Antidepressants, like Wellbutrin, can significantly improve our lives, but there are times in life when a little change can be a bad thing, including when you’re expecting. If you take Wellbutrin, you might be worried about the potential risks of using antidepressants during pregnancy.
While Wellbutrin, like many medications, carries potential side effects that can be concerning for anyone, the specific risks for pregnant women remain somewhat unclear. Research on the safety of medications like Wellbutrin during pregnancy is ongoing.
Understanding the risks associated with Wellbutrin and similar antidepressants during pregnancy or breastfeeding is crucial. We’ll begin with the most important information — the basics of Wellbutrin.

About Wellbutrin

Wellbutrin and its generic form, bupropion, are medications used to treat depression. But here’s the twist: they work a bit differently compared to other antidepressants. Bupropion, which got the FDA’s stamp of approval in 1985, isn’t just for battling major depression. It can also lend a hand in kicking the smoking habit, tackling obesity, managing bipolar disorder, and even dealing with ADHD.
So, what sets bupropion apart? It’s all about how it does its job. Instead of messing with serotonin like most modern antidepressants, bupropion targets dopamine and norepinephrine receptors. These qualities make it what we call a norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitor, or NDRI.
Here’s the deal with NDRIs: they help your brain hold onto its extra supplies of norepinephrine and dopamine. These are like the brain’s mood regulators. So, having some extra stash helps keep those mood swings in check and prevents those gloomy lows that happen when your brain runs low on them.

Should I stop taking Wellbutrin while pregnant?

Wondering if you should throw away your meds as soon as you have a positive pregnancy test? Should you reduce your dose of Wellbutrin? Not necessarily.
It’s important to communicate with your healthcare provider before making any changes to how you take your medication. Some people have a return of their symptoms if they stop taking Wellbutrin during pregnancy.
Your doctor can talk with you about the benefits of treating your depression and the risks of leaving it untreated during pregnancy. For some expectant mothers, the alternative—dealing with untreated depression—can also pose significant challenges.
While it’s natural to feel anxious about your pregnancy, it’s crucial to address any mental health concerns to safeguard both your well-being and your baby’s health. Since ignoring mental health symptoms can pose considerable risks, expecting mothers are encouraged to explore pre- and post-natal counseling and therapy. These supportive measures can be invaluable during this pivotal and sometimes challenging time in your life.

Will taking Wellbutrin increase the risk of birth defects?

When a woman becomes pregnant, there’s always a small chance, around 3-5%, of having a baby with a birth defect. This is what we call the background risk, kind of like a starting point. Now, some studies looked into whether taking Wellbutrin during pregnancy could make the chance of birth defects higher. 
Most of the research we have about using Wellbutrin during pregnancy doesn’t show a bigger chance of birth defects compared to this starting point. In fact, the Mayo Clinic classifies Bupropion (the generic term for Wellbutrin) as an antidepressant medication that’s safe to take during pregnancy.
Clinical studies have boldly suggested that Wellbutrin could be a sensible option for treating depression in pregnant women. This claim carries significant weight, especially considering concerns about potential risks to the developing baby.
Overall, it seems using Wellbutrin while pregnant probably won’t raise the risk of birth defects above what’s normal. So, while there isn’t an emergency warning against taking Wellbutrin while pregnant, it’s definitely something you should bring to your doctor’s attention. 

Wellbutrin and Pregnancy

While other antidepressants have been associated with issues like fetal malformations, premature delivery, and even miscarriage, Wellbutrin appears to have fewer of these risks. This might be because it works differently from other antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants.
However, your mental well-being during pregnancy is arguably even more crucial. Suddenly stopping depression treatment can lead to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Though these symptoms may be manageable, it’s best to navigate them with the guidance of a healthcare professional.
It’s essential to have open discussions with your healthcare providers to determine the best course of action for your specific needs, whether that means discontinuing the medication or reducing the dosage to the lowest effective level.
If you’re wondering how your baby is growing, make sure to check out this realistic video, “Life Before Birth.” This six minute video is a great way to learn how a baby develops during pregnancy.