Metoprolol During Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

by on May 14, 2012

The FDA categorizes metoprolol as a category C medication, which means it should only be given during pregnancy when the potential benefit outweighs the potential risk. Category C medications are those that have had harmful effects on the fetus during animal studies and have not been adequately studied in human subjects.

Can Metoprolol be Used by Pregnant Women?

Yes, but only after the patient’s healthcare provider has weighed up the pros and cons of such an action and taken several factors into account. For example, they will need to decide if the health risks the medication presents are greater than the health risks associated with non-treatment of the patient’s condition. If a healthcare provider does decide to administer metoprolol to a pregnant woman, he or she should closely observe the patient and fetus for the duration of the gestation period. Once the baby is born, he or she should be closely monitored for signs and symptoms of beta-blockade in the 48 hours after birth.

Side Effects in Pregnant Patients

Although there has been little controlled human research on the effects of metoprolol and other beta blockers during pregnancy, there have been some individual, anecdotal reports on the effects of some of these other beta blockers. According to these reports, side effects have included slowed intrauterine growth, small placentas, and birth defects. There have also been some reports on the effects of metoprolol when used during childbirth. These reports detail side effects such as very low heart rate, low blood sugar levels, and/or decreased breathing in the newborns.

Metoprolol and Breastfeeding

This medication is found in breast milk so the patient should consult her healthcare provider if she’s going to be breastfeeding whilst taking metoprolol. If the patient is already taking metoprolol, she should not suddenly stop taking it in order to start breastfeeding without talking to her doctor first. This is because individuals who suddenly stop taking this drug may experience sharp chest pains, irregular heartbeat and sometimes even a heart attack as a result. Patients with a history of heart disease are especially at risk of these complications.

If an individual gets pregnant whilst she’s taking metoprolol, she should alert her healthcare provider immediately. By working together and taking all the important factors into account, the patient and healthcare provider can between them decide what is best for mother and unborn child.