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MEDICINES CONTROL AGENCY
COMMITTEE ON SAFETY
Reminder: Avoid benzodiazepines in pregnancy and lactation
Volume 23, (Pages 9-12)
Benzodiazepines cross the placenta and there is a risk of adverse effects in the foetus. If benzodiazepines are administered at high doses, during late pregnancy, or during labour, effects on the neonate such as hypothermia, hypotonia and moderate respiratory depression, may occur.
Infants born to mothers who take benzodiazepines chronically during the latter stages of pregnancy may develop physical dependence and be at risk of developing withdrawal symptoms (irritability or difficulty with feeding) in the post-natal period.
If a benzodiazepine is prescribed to a woman of childbearing potential, she should be advised to contact her physician regarding discontinuation of the drug if she intends to become, or suspects that she is, pregnant.
Since benzodiazepines are excreted in breast milk, they should not be given to lactating mothers.
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