Why You Shouldn’t Get Botox While Pregnant

Botox has become a go-to solution in the world of medical aesthetics and beyond, known for its ability to temporarily smooth out wrinkles and fine lines for a more youthful, rested appearance. However, with any cosmetic treatment comes a degree of potential risks. Concerns about Botox’s safety is particularly relevant when you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. 

To cut to the chase: no, you probably shouldn’t get Botox while pregnant. But at the same time, if you find out you’re expecting and have recently had Botox, there’s no reason to panic. Here’s why.

How Does Botox Work?

Botulinum toxin, the active ingredient in Botox, is a powerful neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, the same bacterium that causes botulism. In the realm of medical aesthetics, it works by blocking nerve signals in the muscles where it is injected, temporarily reducing muscle activity. 

This relaxation of the facial muscles leads to a decrease in the appearance of dynamic lines like crow’s feet, frown lines and foreheads, contributing to a smoother, more youthful complexion. It’s also used in medical settings to treat conditions such as chronic migraines, muscle spasms and excessive sweating. 

Understanding the nature of this toxin and its effects on muscle activity is especially important when considering its use in sensitive situations like pregnancy. That’s because the systemic effects of Botox, although believed to be minimal, may present unknown risks.

What Does the FDA Say?

The Food and Drug Administration has developed a category system for the safety of medications during pregnancy. This system classifies drugs into five main categories–A, B, C, D and X–based on the available research and evidence about their safety in pregnancy. This system helps healthcare providers and patients weigh the potential benefits and risks of using certain medications during pregnancy.

While Category A is considered safe during pregnancy and X is absolutely not, Botox lands right in the middle–a Category C drug. Specifically, that classification means that while some animal studies have shown it might not be safe for unborn babies, there haven’t been enough clinical trials or studies in pregnant women to be sure. 

Thus, because we don’t have enough information, doctors usually advise against using Botox during pregnancy. 

What are the Potential Risks?

Pregnancy causes many changes in the body, and it’s not clear how a drug like Botox might affect a developing baby. Although the chance of Botox causing birth defects or other developmental problems might be small, doctors and OB/GYNs usually recommend not using it during pregnancy. 

The primary concern is that the botulinum toxin would reach the baby through the placenta. 

Even though Botox injections are usually just in one area and don’t spread much in the body, the lack of studies on the topic means that we can’t rule out that possibility. Moreover, we don’t know what happens if an unborn baby is exposed to a neurotoxin like Botox.

Can You Ever Get Botox While Pregnant?

Here’s where the nuance comes in. Getting Botox injections for cosmetic purposes while pregnant is absolutely not recommended–they’re simply not worth the risk. With that said, in certain rare circumstances, the use of Botox during pregnancy might be considered necessary. 

For instance, if you are pregnant and have a severe medical condition that significantly impacts your quality of life and for which Botox is an effective treatment, continuing Botox during pregnancy may be allowed. Chronic migraines, severe muscle spasms and specific neurological disorders could fall into this category. 

In such cases, the benefits of using Botox to manage these debilitating symptoms might outweigh the potential risks. Moreover, at least one study has shown Botox for migraines to be safe during pregnancy.

However, this decision is not taken lightly. It involves a thorough assessment by healthcare professionals who weigh the potential risks to the fetus against the benefits to your health. A team of specialists, including your OB/GYN, a neurologist, and any other relevant health care providers will carefully consider the dosage and frequency of Botox treatments, striving to find a balance that minimizes risk while providing therapeutic benefit. 

Remember, these instances are exceptional. The general guideline remains to avoid Botox during pregnancy unless it’s deemed medically necessary for the health and well-being of the mother.

What If I Get Pregnant After Getting Botox?

If you find out you’re pregnant and you’ve recently had Botox, the first thing to do is not worry too much. Botox injections are generally localized, meaning they stay in the area where they were injected. The risk of it affecting your pregnancy is considered very low. 

However, it’s important to inform your healthcare provider or OB/GYN about the Botox treatment. They can offer guidance and reassurance, and will monitor your pregnancy just like any other. Remember, the well-being of both you and your baby is the top priority, and your healthcare team is there to support you through your pregnancy journey.

Can Any Long-Term Effects of Botox Affect My Pregnancy?

Botox effects are temporary and localized. All of the long-term effects of Botox are related to consistent use, and are generally limited to muscle atrophy and other effects at the injection site. Botox has been FDA-approved for cosmetic use since 2002 and for medical use in 1989, and has been rigorously studied. To date, we have no evidence that former use of Botox has any unintended side effects that could impact a pregnancy.

This means the effects of Botox you might have had before getting pregnant are unlikely to influence your pregnancy. However, every individual’s situation is unique, so it’s a good idea to discuss your specific history with Botox treatments with your healthcare provider or OB/GYN. They can provide personalized advice and help ensure a healthy pregnancy journey for both you and your baby. Remember, open communication with your medical team is key to managing any concerns during pregnancy.

Can I Get Botox If I’m Nursing?

After a pregnancy, you might think about going back to Botox treatments, especially if you used them regularly before. However, getting Botox while breastfeeding is not recommended. 

The main worry is whether Botox can pass into your breast milk and affect your baby. Since we don’t know whether Botox is passed through breast milk yet, you’ll likely be advised to wait until you’re done breastfeeding before receiving treatment again. This is just to make sure both you and your baby stay safe, putting both health before cosmetic treatments.

Can I Get Fillers While Pregnant?

If you’re wondering about Botox and pregnancy, you might have a similar question about its close cousin, dermal fillers. Fillers are popular for smoothing out wrinkles, plumping lips, and enhancing facial contours, but like Botox, they come with considerations when you’re expecting.

Understanding fillers and pregnancy

Fillers, usually made of substances like hyaluronic acid, are injected under the skin to restore volume or smooth lines. Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in your body, but the version used in fillers is synthetic. While it’s generally considered safe, the safety of injectable fillers during pregnancy hasn’t been thoroughly studied. 

Risks and recommendations

The main concern with getting fillers while you’re pregnant is, just like for Botox, the lack of research on how they might affect you or your baby. Pregnancy causes lots of changes in your body, and these can alter how you react to treatments like fillers. 

For example, your skin might be more sensitive, or you might have a different reaction to the filler than you would if you weren’t pregnant. Also, if there were any complications, like an infection at the injection site, it could be trickier to treat during pregnancy. 

Because of these unknowns, most healthcare providers recommend avoiding fillers during pregnancy. It’s always better to be safe and avoid any potential risks to you or your baby.

Fillers after pregnancy

As with Botox, it’s best to wait until after you’ve finished breastfeeding before getting filler. This way, you avoid any unknown risks during a crucial time for your baby’s development. Plus, after pregnancy, your body will have settled back into its usual routine, and you’ll have a better idea of what you want to achieve with cosmetic treatments.

Pregnancy-Safe Alternatives to Botox and Fillers

So–injectables are out, but taking care of your skin during pregnancy is a great way to help you feel relaxed, pampered and protected during these life-changing months. Of course, you’ll want to choose cosmetic treatments that are safe for both you and your baby.

Nourish your skin at home or at a med spa with these treatments and products that are safe for both expectant mothers and breastfeeding individuals.

1. Hyaluronic acid-based serums and creams

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in the skin, known for its ability to retain moisture. Unlike some other active ingredients, it’s considered safe for pregnant patients. Using serums or creams enriched with hyaluronic acid can help plump up fine lines and improve skin hydration, making it a great alternative to Botox treatments.

2. Gentle exfoliating products

While strong chemical exfoliants may not be recommended, glycolic acid and salicylic acid are considered safe in low concentrations. Exfoliating with these gentler skin care products can help rejuvenate the skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and improving overall skin texture. Choose products containing no more than 7% glycolic acid and 2% salicylic acid.

3. Collagen-boosting creams

Collagen is crucial for maintaining skin elasticity–and while a retinoid might be your usual collagen booster of choice, you shouldn’t use it while pregnant. Instead, opt for skin care products containing ingredients vitamin C, which promotes collagen production and protects your skin from the sun, and peptides.

4. Superficial chemical peels

Not all chemical peels are off-limits for pregnant patients. Superficial peels, often containing glycolic acid at lower concentrations, can be a safe way to exfoliate the skin and address issues like sun damage and fine lines. With that said, always consult with your provider before undergoing any chemical peel during pregnancy.

5. Pregnancy-safe facials

Many dermatologists and skin care professionals offer facials specifically designed for pregnant patients. These treatments may include gentle exfoliation, hydrating masks and serums that are safe for both the mother and the developing baby. They can be a great way to maintain skin health without exposing yourself to the risks associated with more aggressive cosmetic procedures.

Takeaway

While Botox offers numerous benefits for cosmetic and medical purposes, its use during pregnancy and breastfeeding is not recommended except in certain rare circumstances. The lack of definitive research on its safety during these periods means you should err on the side of caution. If you’re pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, it’s best to avoid Botox treatments. 
Instead, consider safe alternatives that nurture your skin without exposing you or your baby to potential risks. Always prioritize your health and well-being, and consult with your healthcare team for personalized advice and safe skin care options during these important stages of your life.

Virtual ConsultBook A ConsultationSign up now to talk to us!