The Effects of Taking Diet Pills While Pregnant

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You may consider taking diet pills during your pregnancy if you are concerned about weight gain. The risks and side effects of diet pills are not worth the potential harm to you and your unborn baby, however. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your weight or need information on avoiding unnecessary weight gain during pregnancy.

Lack of Safety Information

No diet pill has shown in clinical trials that it can help provide safe weight loss, especially during pregnancy. Diet pills are considered nutritional supplements rather than drug products, so the manufacturer, not a government safety agency, bears the responsibility for making sure the pills are safe and effective before putting them on the market. By using diet pills, therefore, you risk consuming a product that has undergone no rigorous approval process or testing and may be unsafe and dangerous for you and your pregnancy despite its manufacturer's claims.

Increased Blood Pressure and Heart Rate

Taking diet pills can raise your blood pressure. Consistent elevated blood pressure during pregnancy can reduce blood flow to your placenta, which can cause your baby to receive fewer nutrients and have a low birth weight. "Consumer Reports" states that diet pills can also increase your heart rate to unsafe levels.

Harmful Ingredients

Diet pills contain ingredients that can be harmful during pregnancy. Some diet pills have caffeine, which can cross the placenta and affect your unborn baby. The drug database Drugs.com states that orlistat, an ingredient found in some weight-loss medications, is not recommended during pregnancy owing to a lack of controlled safety data. Diet pills may also contain herbs, such as ephedra, that can be dangerous during pregnancy. The American Pregnancy Association recommends that pregnant women avoid herbs throughout their pregnancies because reliable safety information is lacking for these supplements. Some of them can cause miscarriage or increase your risk of premature delivery.

Weight Loss During Pregnancy

Baby Center states that a healthy weight gain during pregnancy ranges between 25 and 35 pounds. If you are overweight, you should gain between 11 and 25 pounds during pregnancy. Pregnancy is an unwise time to try to lose weight by taking pills or restricting caloric intake, because your baby needs extra calories for growth and development. Pregnancy places nutritional demands on your body as well, making adequate intake of calories and nutrients essential.

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