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Benzodiazepines and Pregnancy

This is my first post here (save for the introduction one). Apologies in advance, if I am asking in the wrong forum.

I’d love to hear your experiences about being pregnant with ME and while on Benzodiazepines. I am also interested in your experience of withdrawing Benzodiazepines while pregnant. Did you receive any other medication to swap the Benzodiazepine with?

I am on Lorazepam, 1 mg daily. It helps tremendously with POTS, energy, hypersensitivity, sleep and PEM, among other things.

This is probably another dream that will be buried by this illness, but, I am considering having a child. I made many attempts to get off the Lorazepam over the years. I did get off once, but a Doctor put me back on it, when I was doing particularly poorly.

Since then, severe (to me) protracted withdrawal made it impossible to discontinue it. My main disabling symptoms when withdrawing are worsened POTS (fainting, blood pressure lability, heart racing), neurological issues, vomiting, hyperventilating, inability to eat, worsened dysautonomia (hot flush, tremors), visual disturbances, insomnia, and twitching. These manifest in such intensity that I end up in the ER. Despite withdrawing slowly, starting with -2%.

If I was to go through with my decision, I’d have to choose between two evils: potentially harming the baby through Benzodiazepine, or potentially harming, or losing the baby through being off Benzodiazepine. It doesn’t help that time is running out for me to conceive, nor that Lorazepam is the only medication that helps me stay functional.

It is worth noting that Doctors in my area would never allow a pregnant woman to be on Benzodiazepines. I would be put on a fast withdrawal schedule and possibly Antidepressants (which I do not tolerate). My concern is that my withdrawal symptoms would lead me to lose the baby, or they would severely affect the baby.
I haven’t found a doctor who is knowledgeable of protracted withdrawal in my area, let alone one who understands ME/CFS. Unfortunately, psychiatrists I consulted for my withdrawal significantly downplayed the length and intensity of withdrawal systems.

I have read experiences of ME sufferers getting off Benzodiazepines on health boards, but would really appreciate input from others who were in my situation. Thank you for reading.

Rufous McKinney

Senior Member
What a tough predicament to be in....I'm so sorry that is really hard.

so you are not pregnant yet, correct?

so you could go through the withdrawal prior to getting pregnant, but how Long would that take?

and how would you cope with your other symptoms?

You sound like a candidate for maybe using a surrogate. Which is not easy or could be entirely unrealistic.

Its also tough hormone-wise to get pregnant or be pregnant. (so in vitro would be hard I would think to tolerate the hormonal rollercoaster)

It seems like this must have come up with other people finding themselves pregnant while on Lorazepam.
Dear Rufous McKinney, thank you for your reply. Correct: I am not yet pregnant. It is unclear to me how long it would take to get off the Lorazepam. Likely a year or longer in the best case scenario.
You make a good point with surrogacy, which I have considered previously. There are many hurdles there as well, but I am not discounting it yet.
The hormonal rollercoaster is something I haven't taken into account. Zou are absolutely right about likely having a rough time with that which in turn would impact the baby.
There are many anecdotes on the internet about people who are taking Lorazepam during pregnancy, though none of them mention also having ME. I am also concerned that I may not be getting a good picture of the risks, because those inclined to share about their experience with Benzodiazepines during pregnancy overwhelmingly had positive outcomes.

Dear Seadragon, will have a look into the website you mentioned. Thank you!!

Rufous McKinney

Senior Member
I had mild ME most of my life...(or what I called my illness, chronic eppstein barr, or impossible Mono flairing yet again)

I had a very hard time with the extremely intense morning sickness where I should have been hospitalized. That happened every time I got pregnant. The form varied each time. I experienced some odd things including miscarriage.

I didn't really understand just how difficult all that was going to be.

I am eternally grateful I have my one daughter- from that project.

so its a big challenge but comes with huge rewards.

do you have a sister?