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Benzodiazepines and Pregnancy

Benzodiazepines are the most common minor tranquillisers and sleeping pills used. Commonly prescribed benzodiazepines include: Valium , Serepax , Mogadon , Xanax , Ativan , Rohypnol , Normison and Tranxene .

Effects During Pregnancy

  • Benzodiazepines are addictive to both the mother and the baby. The baby is less able to cope with tranquillisers than the mother.
  • It is recommended that the use of benzodiazepines be avoided during pregnancy and close to the time of birth as they can be harmful if taken continuously or in high doses ( Australian Drug Evaluation Committee ).
  • Benzodiazepines can produce withdrawal symptoms in new-born babies. Withdrawal symptoms can include breathing problems, poor body temperature control, poor muscle tone, and difficult sucking. The babies can appear floppy or limp and this poor muscle tone can last for a number of months, although the babies do eventually recover.
  • If benzodiazepines have been used consistently throughout the pregnancy, withdrawal symptoms can last for one week or more (although they can take some days to appear).

The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken from the following source(s):
1. Australian Drug Foundation, Alcohol, Other Drugs and pregnancy:

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Contact Last modified: Oct 21 2004